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She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies,
And all that's best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes ;
Thus mellow'd to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair'd the nameless gracę
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o'er her face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.
And on that cheek and o'er that brow
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow
But tell of days in goodness spent, —
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent.
She was a Phantom of delight
When first she gleam'd upon my sight ;
A lovely Apparition, sent
To be a moment's ornament ;
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair ;
Like Twilight's, too, her dusky hair ;
But all things else about her drawn
From May-time and the cheerful dawn;
A dancing shape, an image gay,
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.
I saw her upon nearer view,
A Spirit, yet a Woman too !
Her household motions light and free,
And steps of virgin-liberty ;
A countenance in which did meet
Sweet records, promises as sweet ;
A creature not too bright or good
For human nature's daily food,
For transient sorrows, simple wiles,
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.
And now I see with eye serene
The very pulse of the machine ;
A being breathing thoughtful breath,
A traveller between life and death :
The reason firm, the temperate will,
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill ;
A perfect Woman, nobly plann'd
To warn, to comfort, and command ;
And yet a Spirit still, and bright
With something of an angel-light
She is not fair to outward view
As many maidens be ;
Her loveliness I never knew
Until she smiled on me.
O then I saw her eye was bright,
A well of love, a spring of light.
But now her looks are coy and cold,
To mine they ne'er reply,
And yet I cease not to behold
The love-light in her eye :
Her very frowns are fairer far
Than smiles of other maidens are.
I fear thy kisses, gentle maiden ;
Thou needest not fear mine ;
My spirit is too deeply laden
Ever to burthen thine.
I fear thy mien, thy tones, thy motion ;
Thou needest not fear mine ;
Innocent is the heart's devotion
With which I worship thine.
P. B. Shelley
She dwelt among the untrodden ways
Beside the springs of Dove ;
A maid whom there were none to praise,
And very few to love.
A violet by a mossy stone
Half-hidden from the eye!
-Fair as a star, when only one
Is shining in the sky.
She lived unknown, and few could know
When Lucy ceased to be ;
But she is in her grave, and, oh,
The difference to me !
I travell’d among unknown men
In lands beyond the sea ;
Nor, England ! did I know till then
What love I bore to thee.
'Tis past, that melancholy dream !
Nir will I quit thy shore
A second time ; for still I seem
To love thee more and more.
Among thy mountains did I feel
The joy of my desire ;
And she I cherish'd turn'd her wheel
Beside an English fire.
Thy mornings show'd, thy nights conceal's.
The bowers where Lucy play'd ;
And thine too is the last green field
That Lucy's eyes survey'd.
Three years she grew in sun and shower ;
Then Nature said, “A lovelier flower
On earth was never sown :
This Child I to myself will take ;
She shall be mine, and I will make
A lady of my own.
Myself will to my darling be
Both law and impulse : and with me
The girl, in rock and plain,
In earth and heaven, in glade and bower,
Shall feel an overseeing power
To kindle or restrain.
'She shall be sportive as the fawn
That wild with glee across the lawn
Or up the mountain springs ;
And her's shall be the breathing balm,
And her's the silence and the calm
Of mute insensate things.
'The floating clouds their state shall lend
To her ; for her the willow bend ;
Nor shall she fail to see
Evin in the motions of the storm
Grace that shall mould the maiden's form
By silent sympathy.
• The stars of midnight shall be dear
To her ; and she shall lean her ear
In many a secret place
Where rivulets dance their wayward round,
And beauty born of murmuring sound
Shall pass into her face.
* And vital feelings of delight
Shall rear her form to stately height,
Her virgin bosom swell ;
Such thoughts to Lucy I will give
While she and I together live
Here in this happy dell.'
Thus Nature spake—The work was done-
How soon my Lucy's race was run !
She died, and left to me
This heath, this calm and quiet scene ;
The memory of what has been,
And never more will be.
A slumber did my spirit seal ;
I had no human fears :
She seem'd a thing that could not feel
The touch of earthly years.
No motion has she now, no force ;
She neither hears nor sees ;
Roll'd round in earth's diurnal course
With cocks, and stones, and trees.