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Tell me not of your starry eyes,
Your lips that seem on roses fed, Your breasts, where Cupid tumbling lies
Nor sleeps for kissing of his bed,
A bloomy pair of vermeil cheeks
Like Hebe's in her ruddiest hours, A breath that softer music speaks
Than summer winds a-wooing flowers ; –
These are but gauds : nay, what are lips ?
Coral beneath the ocean-stream, Whose brink when your adventurer slips
Full oft he perisheth on them.
And what are cheeks, but ensigns oft
That wave hot youth to fields of blood ? Did Helen's breast, though ne'er so soft,
Do Greece or Ilium any good ?
Eyes can with baleful ardor burn;
Poison can breath, that erst perfumed ; There's many a white hand holds an urn
With lovers' hearts to dust consumed.
For crystal brows there's naught within ;
They are but empty cells for pride ; He who the Siren's hair would win
Is mostly strangled in the tide.
Give me, instead of Beauty's bust,
A tender heart, a loyal mind, Which with temptation I would trust,
Yet never linked with error find,
One in whose gentle bosom I
Could pour my secret heart of woes, Like the care-burdened honey-fly
That hides his murmurs in the rose,
My earthly Comforter! whose love
So indefeasible might be
A MAIDEN'S IDEAL OF A HUSBAND.
FROM "THE CONTRIVANCES."
GENTEEL in personage, Conduct, and equipage, Noble by heritage,
Generous and free: Brave, not romantic; Learned, not pedantic ; Frolic, not frantic ;
This unust he be.
Engaging and new.
But ever true.
THE LANDLADY'S DAUGHTER.
THREE students were travelling over the Rhine ; They stopped when they came to the landlady's
sign ; “Good landlady, have you good beer and wine ? And where is that dear little daughter of thine ?"
My beer and wine are fresh and clear ;
The first he drew near, and the veil gently raised,
The second he slowly put back the shroud,
The third he once more uplifted the veil,
From the German of UHLAND. Translation
of J. S. DWIGHT.
There were three maidens who loved a king ;
They sat together beside the sea;
If but for one day he might love me !"
The second whispered, “And I would die
To gladden his life, or make him great." The third one spoke not, but gazed afar
With dreamy eyes that were sad as Fate.
The king he loved the first for a day,
The second his life with fond love blest ; And yet the woman who never spoke
Was the one of the three who loved him best.
LUCY H. HOOPER.
A WOMAN'S QUESTION.
BEFORE I trust my fate to thee,
Or place my hand jr. thine, Before I let thy future give
Color and form to mine, Before I peril all for thee, Question thy soul to-night for me.
I break all slighter bonds, nor feel
A shadow of regret :
That holds thy spirit yet?
Does there within thy dimmest dreams
A possible future shine,
Untouched, unshared by mine?
Look deeper still : if thou canst feel,
Within thy inmost soul, That thou hast kept a portion back,
While I have staked the whole, Let no false pity spare the blow, But in true mercy tell me so.
Is there within thy heart a need
That mine cannot fulfil ?
Could better wake or still?
Lives there within thy nature hid
The demon-spirit, change, Shedding a passing glory still
On all things new and strange ? It may not be thy fault alone, But shield my heart against thine own.
Couldst thou withdraw thy hand one day
And answer to my claim,
Not thou, -- had been to blame?
Nay, answer not, -- I dare not hear ;
The words would come too late ; Yet I would spare thee all remorse,
So comfort thee, my fate: Whatever on my heart may fall, Remember, I would risk it all!
A WOMAN'S ANSWER
I will not let you say a woman's part
Must be to give exclusive love alone; Dearest, although I love you so, my heart
Answers a thousand claims besides your own.
I love, — what do I not love ? Earth and air
Find space within my heart, and myriad things You would not deign to heed are cherished there,
And vibrate on its very inmost strings.
I love the summer, with her ebb and flow
nursed Her tender buds to blossoms ... and you know
It was in summer that I saw you first.
I love the winter dearly too, ... but then
I owe it so much ; on a winter's day,
When you had been those weary months away.
I love the stars like friends; so many nights
I gazed at them, when you were far from me, Till I grew blind with tears ... those far-off lights
Could watch you, whom I longed in vain to see.
I love the Powers; happy hours lie
Shut up within their petals close and fast : You have forgotteu, dear; but they and I
Keep every fragment of the golden Past.
I love, too, to be loved; all loving praise
Seems like a crown upon my life, - to make It better worth the giving, and to raise
Still nearer to your own the heart you take.
I love all good and noble souls ;- I heard
One speak of you but lately, and for days, Only to think of it, my soul was stirred
In tender memory of such generous praise.
I love all those who love you, all who owe
Comfort to you ; and I can find regret Even for those poorer hearts who once could know,
And once could love you, and can now forget.
Well, is my heart so narrow, - I, who spare
Love for all these? Do I not even hold My favorite books in special tender care,
And prize them as a miser does his gold?
The poets that you used to read to me
While summer twilights faded in the sky; But most of all I think Aurora Leigh,
Because — because -- do you remember why?
ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER.