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I loved, and love dispelled the fear
That I should die an early death: For love possessed the atmosphere,
And filled the breast with purer breath.
For I was altered, and began
And with the certain step of man.
I loved the brimming wave that swam
Through quiet meadows round the mill,
The pool beneath it never still,
The dark round of the dripping wheel,
Made misty with the floating meal.
And oft in ramblings on the wold,
When April nights began to blow, And April's crescent glimmered cold,
I saw the village lights below; I knew your taper far away,
And full at heart of trembling hope, From off the wold I came, and lay
Upon the freshly-flowered slope.
The deep brook groaned beneath the mill;
And "by that lamp," I thought, "she sits!" The white chalk-quarry from the hill
Gleamed to the flying moon by fits. "O that I were beside her now!
O will she answer if I call?
Sweet Alice, if I told her all V"
Sometimes I saw you sit and spin;
And, in the pauses of the wind, Sometimes I heard you sing within;
Sometimes your shadow crossed the blind j At last you rose and moved the light,
And the long shadow of the chair Flitted across into the night,
And all the casement darkened there.
But when at last I dared to speak,
The lanes, you know, were white with May, Your ripe lips moved not, but your cheek
Flushed like the coming of the day; And so it was—half-sly, half-shy,
You would, and would not, little one! Although I pleaded tenderly,
And you and I were all alone.
And slowly was my mother brought
To yield consent to my desire:
I might have looked a little higher;
"Yet must I love her for your sake; Go fetch your Alice here," she said:
Her eyelid quivered as she spake.
And down I went to fetch my bride:
But, Alice, you were ill at ease; This dress and that by turns you tried,
Too fearful that you should not please. I loved you better for your fears,
I knew you could not look but well; And dews, that would have fall'n in tears.
I kissed away before they fell.
I watched the little flutterings,
The doubt my mother would not see;
She spoke at large of many things,
And turning looked upon your face,
And rose, and, with a silent grace
Approaching, pressed you heart to heart.
Ah, well—but sing the foolish song
I gave you, Alice, on the day When, arm in arm, we went along,
A pensive pair, and you were gay With bridal flowers—that I may seem,
As in the nights of old, to lie Beside the mill-wheel in the stream,
While those full chestnuts whisper by.
It is the miller's daughter,
And she is grown so dear, so dear,
That trembles at her ear:
And I would be the girdle
And her heart would beat against me
And I should know if it beat right,
I'd clasp it round so close and tight.
And I would be the necklace,
Upon her balmy bosom,
With her laughter or her sighs,
And I would lie so light, so light,
I scarce should be unclasped at night.
A trifle, sweet! which true love spells—
His light upon the letter dwells,
So, if I waste words now, in truth
Had force to make me rhyme in youth,
And now those vivid hours are gone,
Like mine own life to me thou art,
Do make a garland for the heart:
Half-angered with my happy lot,
I found the blue Forget-me-not.
Love that hath us in the neL
Look through mine eyes with thine. True wife,
Round my true heart thine arms entwine; My other dearer life in life,
Look through my very soul with thine! Untouched with any shade of years,
May those kind eyes forever dwell! They have not shed a many tears,
Dear eyes, since first I knew them well.
Yet tears they shed: they had their part
Of sorrow: for when time was ripe, The still affection of the heart,
Became an outward breathing type, That into stillness past again,
And left a want unknown before; Although the loss that brought us pain,
That loss but made us love the more,
With farther lookings on. The kiss,
The woven arms, seem but to be
The comfort, I have found in thee:
Two spirits to one equal mind—
With blessings which no words can find.
Arise, and let us wander forth
To yon old mill across the wolds; For look, the sunset, south and north,
Winds all the vale in rosy folds, And fires your narrow casement glass,
Touching the sullen pool below: On the chalk-hill the bearded grass
Is dry and dewless. Let us go.