Verse > William Wordsworth > Complete Poetical Works




          SWEET Highland Girl, a very shower
          Of beauty is thy earthly dower!
          Twice seven consenting years have shed
          Their utmost bounty on thy head:
          And these grey rocks; that household lawn;
          Those trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
          This fall of water that doth make
          A murmur near the silent lake;
          This little bay; a quiet road
          That holds in shelter thy Abode--                           10
          In truth together do ye seem
          Like something fashioned in a dream;
          Such Forms as from their covert peep
          When earthly cares are laid asleep!
          But, O fair Creature! in the light
          Of common day, so heavenly bright,
          I bless Thee, Vision as thou art,
          I bless thee with a human heart;
          God shield thee to thy latest years!
          Thee, neither know I, nor thy peers;                        20
          And yet my eyes are filled with tears.
            With earnest feeling I shall pray
          For thee when I am far away:
          For never saw I mien, or face,
          In which more plainly I could trace
          Benignity and home-bred sense
          Ripening in perfect innocence.
          Here scattered, like a random seed,
          Remote from men, Thou dost not need
          The embarrassed look of shy distress,                       30
          And maidenly shamefacedness:
          Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear
          The freedom of a Mountaineer:
          A face with gladness overspread!
          Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!
          And seemliness complete, that sways
          Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
          With no restraint, but such as springs
          From quick and eager visitings
          Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach                       40
          Of thy few words of English speech:
          A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife
          That gives thy gestures grace and life!
          So have I, not unmoved in mind,
          Seen birds of tempest-loving kind--
          Thus beating up against the wind.
            What hand but would a garland cull
          For thee who art so beautiful?
          O happy pleasure! here to dwell
          Beside thee in some heathy dell;                            50
          Adopt your homely ways, and dress,
          A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess!
          But I could frame a wish for thee
          More like a grave reality:
          Thou art to me but as a wave
          Of the wild sea; and I would have
          Some claim upon thee, if I could,
          Though but of common neighbourhood.
          What joy to hear thee, and to see!
          Thy elder Brother I would be,                               60
          Thy Father--anything to thee!
            Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace
          Hath led me to this lonely place.
          Joy have I had; and going hence
          I bear away my recompence.
          In spots like these it is we prize
          Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes:
          Then, why should I be loth to stir?
          I feel this place was made for her;
          To give new pleasure like the past,                         70
          Continued long as life shall last.
          Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,
          Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part:
          For I, methinks, till I grow old,
          As fair before me shall behold,
          As I do now, the cabin small,
          The lake, the bay, the waterfall;
          And Thee, the Spirit of them all!



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