The old courtesy rises like a ghost,
and—though nobility comes first
from the swagger of slaveholders,
and so, by easy stages, to the cast
of landed votes—
yet a lady evokes a gentleman,
and the glamour of the lake;
my hand looks for the pommel of a sword.
The light spills,
unruly, from your eyes; the world leans.
Peasants born of peasants, no share really
in gallantry; our part was the harvest and the whip.
Still, I take your hand, square my shoulders,
long for ancestry and colonnaded walks.
Oh, I would take slaves for this!
That's the sad truth, I think:
history writ small.