Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
William Wordsworth. 1770–1850
529. Perfect Woman
SHE was a phantom of delight 
When first she gleam'd upon my sight; 
A lovely apparition, sent 
To be a moment's ornament; 
Her eyes as stars of twilight fair;         5
Like twilight's, too, her dusky hair; 
But all things else about her drawn 
From May-time and the cheerful dawn; 
A dancing shape, an image gay, 
To haunt, to startle, and waylay.  10
I saw her upon nearer view, 
A Spirit, yet a Woman too! 
Her household motions light and free, 
And steps of virgin liberty; 
A countenance in which did meet  15
Sweet records, promises as sweet; 
A creature not too bright or good 
For human nature's daily food; 
For transient sorrows, simple wiles, 
Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles.  20
And now I see with eye serene 
The very pulse of the machine; 
A being breathing thoughtful breath, 
A traveller between life and death; 
The reason firm, the temperate will,  25
Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; 
A perfect Woman, nobly plann'd, 
To warn, to comfort, and command; 
And yet a Spirit still, and bright 
With something of angelic light.  30
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