Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
 
IV. Wooing and Winning
Sweet Meeting of Desires
Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)
 
From “The Angel in the House”

I GREW assured, before I asked,
  That she ’d be mine without reserve,
And in her unclaimed graces basked
  At leisure, till the time should serve,—
With just enough of dread to thrill        5
  The hope, and make it trebly dear:
Thus loath to speak the word, to kill
  Either the hope or happy fear.
 
Till once, through lanes returning late,
  Her laughing sisters lagged behind;        10
And ere we reached her father’s gate,
  We paused with one presentient mind;
And, in the dim and perfumed mist
  Their coming stayed, who, blithe and free,
And very women, loved to assist        15
  A lover’s opportunity.
 
Twice rose, twice died, my trembling word;
  To faint and frail cathedral chimes
Spake time in music, and we heard
  The chafers rustling in the limes.        20
Her dress, that touched me where I stood;
  The warmth of her confided arm;
Her bosom’s gentle neighborhood;
  Her pleasure in her power to charm;
 
Her look, her love, her form, her touch!        25
  The least seemed most by blissful turn,—
Blissful but that it pleased too much,
  And taught the wayward soul to yearn.
It was as if a harp with wires
  Was traversed by the breath I drew;        30
And O, sweet meeting of desires!
  She, answering, owned that she loved too.
 
 
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