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The Wifes Will

 Sit still­ a word­ a breath may break 
(As light airs stir a sleeping lake,) 
The glassy calm that soothes my woes, 
The sweet, the deep, the full repose.
O leave me not ! for ever be Thus, more than life itself to me ! Yes, close beside thee, let me kneel­ Give me thy hand that I may feel The friend so true­so tried­so dear, My heart's own chosen­indeed is near; And check me not­this hour divine Belongs to me­is fully mine.
'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside, After long absence­wandering wide; 'Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes, A promise clear of stormless skies, For faith and true love light the rays, Which shine responsive to her gaze.
Aye,­well that single tear may fall; Ten thousand might mine eyes recall, Which from their lids, ran blinding fast, In hours of grief, yet scarcely past, Well may'st thou speak of love to me; For, oh ! most truly­I love thee ! Yet smile­for we are happy now.
Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow ? What say'st thou ? " We must once again, Ere long, be severed by the main ? " I knew not this­I deemed no more, Thy step would err from Britain's shore.
" Duty commands ?" 'Tis true­'tis just; Thy slightest word I wholly trust, Nor by request, nor faintest sigh Would I, to turn thy purpose, try; But, William­hear my solemn vow­ Hear and confirm !­with thee I go.
" Distance and suffering," did'st thou say ? " Danger by night, and toil by day ?" Oh, idle words, and vain are these; Hear me ! I cross with thee the seas.
Such risk as thou must meet and dare, I­thy true wife­will duly share.
Passive, at home, I will not pine; Thy toils­thy perils, shall be mine; Grant this­and be hereafter paid By a warm heart's devoted aid: 'Tis granted­with that yielding kiss, Entered my soul unmingled bliss.
Thanks, William­thanks ! thy love has joy, Pure­undefiled with base alloy; 'Tis not a passion, false and blind, Inspires, enchains, absorbs my mind; Worthy, I feel, art thou to be Loved with my perfect energy.
This evening, now, shall sweetly flow, Lit by our clear fire's happy glow; And parting's peace-embittering fear, Is warned, our hearts to come not near; For fate admits my soul's decree, In bliss or bale­to go with thee !

by Charlotte Bronte
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