MAIDEN! with the meek brown eyes
In whose orbs a shadow lies
Like the dusk in evening skies!
Thou whose locks outshine the sun
Golden tresses wreathed in one 5
As the braided streamlets run!
Standing with reluctant feet
Where the brook and river meet
Womanhood and childhood fleet!
Gazing with a timid glance 10
On the brooklet's swift advance
On the river's broad expanse!
Deep and still that gliding stream
Beautiful to thee must seem
As the river of a dream.
Then why pause with indecision
When bright angels in thy vision
Beckon thee to fields Elysian?
Seest thou shadows sailing by
As the dove with startled eye 20
Sees the falcon's shadow fly?
Hearest thou voices on the shore
That our ears perceive no more
Deafened by the cataract's roar?
Oh thou child of many prayers! 25
Life hath quicksands Life hath snares!
Care and age come unawares!
Like the swell of some sweet tune
Morning rises into noon
May glides onward into June.
Childhood is the bough where slumbered
Birds and blossoms many numbered;¡ª
Age that bough with snows encumbered.
Gather then each flower that grows
When the young heart overflows 35
To embalm that tent of snows.
Bear a lily in thy hand;
Gates of brass cannot withstand
One touch of that magic wand.
Bear through sorrow wrong and ruth 40
In thy heart the dew of youth
On thy lips the smile of truth.
O that dew like balm shall steal
Into wounds that cannot heal
Even as sleep our eyes doth seal; 45
And that smile like sunshine dart
Into many a sunless heart
For a smile of God thou art.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
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