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Poem by William Wordsworth
To a Highland Girl
SWEET Highland girl, a very shower Of beauty is thy earthly dower! Twice seven consenting years have shed Their utmost bounty on thy head: And these gray rocks; that household lawn; Those trees, a veil just half withdrawn; This fall of water that doth make A murmur near the silent lake; This little bay; a quiet road That holds in shelter thy abode,— In truth together do ye seem Like something fashioned in a dream; Such forms as from their covert peep When earthly cares are laid asleep! But, O fair creature! in the light Of common day, so heavenly bright, I bless thee, vision as thou art,— I bless thee with a human heart; God shield thee to thy latest years! Thee neither know I, nor thy peers; And yet my eyes are filled with tears. With earnest feeling I shall pray For thee when I am far away: For never saw I mien or face In which more plainly I could trace Benignity and home-bred sense Ripening in perfect innocence. Here scattered, like a random seed, Remote from men, thou dost not need The embarrassed look of shy distress, And maidenly shamefacedness: Thou wear’st upon thy forehead clear The freedom of a mountaineer; A face with gladness overspread! Soft smiles, by human kindness bred! And seemliness complete, that sways Thy courtesies, about thee plays; With no restraint, but such as springs From quick and eager visitings Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach Of thy few words of English speech: A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife That gives thy gestures grace and life! So have I, not unmoved in mind, Seen birds of tempest-loving kind Thus beating up against the wind. What hand but would a garland call For thee who art so beautiful? O happy pleasure! here to dwell Beside thee in some heathy dell; Adopt your homely ways, and dress, A shepherd, thou a shepherdess! But I could frame a wish for thee More like a grave reality: Thou art to me but as a wave Of the wild sea; and I would have Some claim upon thee, if I could, Though but of common neighborhood. What joy to hear thee, and to see! Thy elder brother I would be, Thy father,—anything to thee! Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace Hath led me to this lonely place. Joy have I had; and going hence I bear away my recompense. In spots like these it is we prize Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes: Then why should I be loath to stir? I feel this place was made for her; To give new pleasure like the past, Continued long as life shall last. Nor am I loath, though pleased at heart, Sweet Highland girl! from thee to part; For I, methinks, till I grow old, As fair before me shall behold, As I do now, the cabin small, The lake, the bay, the waterfall; And thee, the spirit of them all!
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