Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Lovely Shall Be Choosers

Because when I Googled "The Lovely Shall Be Choosers", I couldn't find this poem anywhere. So I scoured the library and checked out The Poetry of Robert Frost: All Eleven of His Books--Complete (Copyright 1967). I know I can't be the only person on the planet who has an interest in this poem and was completely dumbstruck to find that the interwebs had failed me for, what could potentially be, the first time ever. That being said, I have wonders about two different things.
Wonder Number One: When you search for The Lovely Shall Be Choosers, will this blog show up?
Wonder Number Two: Is this some sort of copyright infringement or something and that's why it's so impossible to find? Damn, I sure hope that's not the answer.
Anyhow, I give you the fruits of my three-day-search.

The Lovely Shall Be Choosers

The Voice said, "Hurl her down!"

The Voices, "How far down?"

"Seven levels of the world."

"How much time have we?"

"Take twenty years.
She would refuse love safe with wealth and honor!
The lovely shall be choosers, shall they?
Then let them choose!"

"Then we shall let her choose?"

"Yes, let her choose.
Take up the task beyond her choosing."

Invisible hands crowned on her shoulder
In readiness to weigh upon her.
But she stood straight still,
In broad round earrings, gold and jet with pearls,
And broad round suchlike brooch,
Her cheeks high-colored,
Proud and the pride of friends.

The Voice asked, "You can let her choose?"

"Yes, we can let her and still triumph."

"Do it by joys, and leave her always blameless.
Be her first joy her wedding,
That though a wedding,
is yet--well, something they know, he and she.
And after that her next joy
That though she grieves, her grief is secret:
Those friends know nothing of her grief to make it shameful.
Her third joy that though now they cannot help but know,
They move in pleasure too far off
To think much or much care.
Give her a child at either knee for fourth joy
To tell once and once only, for them never to forget,
How once she walked in brightness,
And make them see it in the winter firelight.
But give her friends, for then she dare not tell
For their foregone incredulousness.
And be her next joy this:
Her never having deigned to tell them.
Make her among the humblest even
Seem to them less than they are.
Hopeless of being known for what she has been,
Failing of being loved for what she is,
Give her the comfort for her sixth of knowing
She fails from strangeness to a way of life
She came to from too high too late to learn.
Then send some one with eyes to see
And wonder at her where she is,
And words to wonder in her hearing how she came there,
But without time to linger for her story.
Be her last joy her heart's going out to this one
So that she almost speaks.
You know them--seven in all."

"Trust us," the Voices said.

14 comments:

John in Akron said...

Libby,
I googled "The lovely shall be choosers" and indeed came to your blog, so thank you for your research.

Libby Marie said...

Your welcome, John in Akron. I hope I gave you what you were looking for.

Leandro said...

I googled "the lovely shall be choosers", and this blog didn't come out. I managed to find one of the lines of the poems, though, and googled for it. *Then* your blog came out. Thank you :)

Libby Marie said...

I'm happy to help.
:)

Anonymous said...

How did you become familiar with this poem? I'm VERY curious:)

Libby Marie said...

Honestly, in college, we studied another poem that our professor just photocopied from a book. The Lovely Shall Be Choosers started at the end of that poem and I thought it was so interesting that I taped it to my refrigerator and then got the itch to find the rest of it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you and God bless:)

Jesus said...

Is this the actuall poem cuz i have to copy the original one

Anonymous said...

Thank God someone else is interested. Other than my tattered old, complete
collections ( which has no commentary) This is not just my favorite Frost poem.
My Favorite poem. I was shocked that I couldn't find it on any web lists! What's
the deal? Frost's profound feminine sensibility. But don't really care about that as
much as what Anyone else thinks! That it is conspicuously absent...you hear the
Greek chorus, count the Joys feel each searing phrase..but I cannot explain why
this is the best. I was going to give up. One of Cnn's featured stories today, what
is beauty? We know it when we see it. I took that as a sign to press on. Anybody!!

Anonymous said...

Everybody;) Everything

Anonymous said...

thank you. you found it.

Sarah K. Green said...

i read this poem in my teenage years from a frost book i had and then lost the book. i have searched periodically for it on the internet and i am VERY happy you did this! thank you!

EyeKahn said...

Yup! That looks like the one in my complete book of Robert Frost. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow. Someone on Twitter mentioned this poem to me. A very interesting piece, indeed.

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