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A Fragment

 'Maiden, thou wert thoughtless once
Of beauty or of grace,
Simple and homely in attire
Careless of form and face.
Then whence this change, and why so oft Dost smooth thy hazel hair? And wherefore deck thy youthful form With such unwearied care? 'Tell us ­- and cease to tire our ears With yonder hackneyed strain ­- Why wilt thou play those simple tunes So often o'er again?' 'Nay, gentle friends, I can but say That childhood's thoughts are gone.
Each year its own new feelings brings And years move swiftly on, And for these little simple airs, I love to play them o'er ­- So much I dare not promise now To play them never more.
' I answered and it was enough; They turned them to depart; They could not read my secret thoughts Nor see my throbbing heart.
I've noticed many a youthful form Upon whose changeful face The inmost workings of the soul The gazer's eye might trace.
The speaking eye, the changing lip, The ready blushing cheek, The smiling or beclouded brow Their different feelings speak.
But, thank God! you might gaze on mine For hours and never know The secret changes of my soul From joy to bitter woe.
Last night, as we sat round the fire Conversing merrily, We heard without approaching steps Of one well known to me.
There was no trembling in my voice, No blush upon my cheek, No lustrous sparkle in my eyes, Of hope or joy to speak; But O my spirit burned within, My heart beat thick and fast.
He came not nigh ­- he went away And then my joy was past.
And yet my comrades marked it not, My voice was still the same; They saw me smile, and o'er my face ­- No signs of sadness came; They little knew my hidden thoughts And they will never know The anguish of my drooping heart, The bitter aching woe!

Poem by Anne Bronte
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