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LOVE

  All Thoughts, all Passions, all Delights,
  Whatever stirs this mortal Frame,
  All are but Ministers of Love,
    And feed his sacred flame.

  Oft in my waking dreams do I
  Live o'er again that happy hour,
  When midway on the Mount I lay
    Beside the Ruin'd Tower.

  The Moonshine stealing o'er the scene
  Had blended with the Lights of Eve;
  And she was there, my Hope, my Joy,
    My own dear Genevieve!

  She lean'd against the Armed Man,
  The Statue of the Armed Knight:
  She stood and listen'd to my Harp
    Amid the ling'ring Light.

  Few Sorrows hath she of her own,
  My Hope, my Joy, my Genevieve!
  She loves me best, whene'er I sing
    The Songs, that make her grieve.

  I play'd a soft and doleful Air,
  I sang an old and moving Story—
  An old rude Song that fitted well
    The Ruin wild and hoary.

  She listen'd with a flitting Blush,
  With downcast Eyes and modest Grace;
  For well she knew, I could not choose
    But gaze upon her Face.

  I told her of the Knight, that wore
  Upon his Shield a burning Brand;
  And that for ten long Years he woo'd
    The Lady of the Land.

  I told her, how he pin'd: and, ah!
  The low, the deep, the pleading tone,
  With which I sang another's Love,
    Interpreted my own.

  She listen'd with a flitting Blush,
  With downcast Eyes and modest Grace;
  And she forgave me, that I gaz'd
    Too fondly on her Face!

  But when I told the cruel scorn
  Which craz'd this bold and lovely Knight,
  And that be cross'd the mountain woods
    Nor rested day nor night;

  That sometimes from the savage Den,
  And sometimes from the darksome Shade,
  And sometimes starting up at once
    In green and sunny Glade,

  There came, and look'd him in the face,
  An Angel beautiful and bright;
  And that he knew, it was a Fiend,
    This miserable Knight!

  And that, unknowing what he did,
  He leapt amid a murd'rous Band,
  And sav'd from Outrage worse than Death
    The Lady of the Land;

  And how she wept and clasp'd his knees
  And how she tended him in vain—
  And ever strove to expiate
    The Scorn, that craz'd his Brain

  And that she nurs'd him in a Cave;
  And how his Madness went away
  When on the yellow forest leaves
    A dying Man he lay;

  His dying words—but when I reach'd
  That tenderest strain of all the Ditty,
  My falt'ring Voice and pausing Harp
    Disturb'd her Soul with Pity!

  All Impulses of Soul and Sense
  Had thrill'd my guileless Genevieve,
  The Music, and the doleful Tale,
    The rich and balmy Eve;

  And Hopes, and Fears that kindle Hope,
  An undistinguishable Throng!
  And gentle Wishes long subdued,
    Subdued and cherish'd long!

  She wept with pity and delight,
  She blush'd with love and maiden shame;
  And, like the murmur of a dream,
    I heard her breathe my name.

  Her Bosom heav'd—she stepp'd aside;
  As conscious of my Look, she stepp'd—
  Then suddenly with timorous eye
    She fled to me and wept.

  She half inclosed me with her arms,
  She press'd me with a meek embrace;
  And bending back her head look'd up,
    And gaz'd upon my face.

  'Twas partly Love, and partly Fear,
  And partly 'twas a bashful Art
  That I might rather feel than see
    The Swelling of her Heart.

  I calm'd her Tears; and she was calm,
  And told her love with virgin Pride.
  And so I won my Genevieve,
    My bright and beauteous Bride!

The MAD MOTHER.

  Her eyes are wild, her head is bare,
  The sun has burnt her coal-black hair,
  Her eye-brows have a rusty stain,
  And she came far from over the main.
  She has a baby on her arm,
  Or else she were alone;
  And underneath the hay-stack warm,
  And on the green-wood stone,
  She talked and sung the woods among;
  And it was in the English tongue.

  "Sweet babe! they say that I am mad,
  But nay, my heart is far too glad;
  And I am happy when I sing
  Full many a sad and doleful thing:
  Then, lovely baby, do not fear!
  I pray thee have no fear of me,
  But, safe as in a cradle, here
  My lovely baby! thou shalt be,
  To thee I know too much I owe;
  I cannot work thee any woe.
"

  A fire was once within my brain;
  And in my head a dull, dull pain;
  And fiendish faces one, two, three,
  Hung at my breasts, and pulled at me.
  But then there came a sight of joy;
  It came at once to do me good;
  I waked, and saw my little boy,
  My little boy of flesh and blood;
  Oh joy for me that sight to see!
  For he was here, and only he.

  Suck, little babe, oh suck again!
  It cools my blood; it cools my brain;
  Thy lips I feel them, baby! they
  Draw from my heart the pain away.
  Oh! press me with thy little hand;
  It loosens something at my chest;
  About that tight and deadly band
  I feel thy little fingers press'd.
  The breeze I see is in the tree;
  It comes to cool my babe and me.

  Oh! love me, love me, little boy!
  Thou art thy mother's only joy;
  And do not dread the waves below,
  When o'er the sea-rock's edge we go;
  The high crag cannot work me harm,
  Nor leaping torrents when they howl;
  The babe I carry on my arm,
  He saves for me my precious soul;
  Then happy lie, for blest am I;
  Without me my sweet babe would die.

  Then do not fear, my boy! for thee
  Bold as a lion I will be;
  And I will always be thy guide,
  Through hollow snows and rivers wide.
  I'll build an Indian bower; I know
  The leaves that make the softest bed:
  And if from me thou wilt not go.
  But still be true 'till I am dead,
  My pretty thing! then thou shalt sing,
  As merry as the birds in spring.

  Thy father cares not for my breast,
  'Tis thine, sweet baby, there to rest:
  'Tis all thine own! and if its hue
  Be changed, that was so fair to view,
  'Tis fair enough for thee, my dove!
  My beauty, little child, is flown;
  But thou will live with me in love,
  And what if my poor cheek be brown?
  'Tis well for me, thou canst not see
  How pale and wan it else would be.

  Dread not their taunts, my little life!
  I am thy father's wedded wife;
  And underneath the spreading tree
  We two will live in honesty.
  If his sweet boy he could forsake,
  With me he never would have stay'd:
  From him no harm my babe can take,
  But he, poor man! is wretched made,
  And every day we two will pray
  For him that's gone and far away.

  I'll teach my boy the sweetest things;
  I'll teach him how the owlet sings.
  My little babe! thy lips are still,
  And thou hast almost suck'd thy fill.
  —Where art thou gone my own dear child?
  What wicked looks are those I see?
  Alas! alas! that look so wild,
  It never, never came from me:
  If thou art mad, my pretty lad,
  Then I must be for ever sad.

  Oh! smile on me, my little lamb!
  For I thy own dear mother am.
  My love for thee has well been tried:
  I've sought thy father far and wide.
  I know the poisons of the shade,
  I know the earth-nuts fit for food;
  Then, pretty dear, be not afraid;
  We'll find thy father in the wood.
  Now laugh and be gay, to the woods away!
  And there, my babe; we'll live for aye.


Poem by William Wordsworth
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