Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. II. Love
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume II. Love.  1904.
VIII. Wedded Love
“If thou wert by my side, my love”
Reginald Heber (1783–1826)
Lines Written to His Wife, While on a Visit to Upper India

IF thou wert by my side, my love!
  How fast would evening fail
In green Bengala’s palmy grove,
  Listening the nightingale!
If thou, my love, wert by my side,        5
  My babies at my knee,
How gayly would our pinnace glide
  O’er Gunga’s mimic sea!
I miss thee at the dawning gray,
  When, on our deck reclined,        10
In careless ease my limbs I lay
  And woo the cooler wind.
I miss thee when by Gunga’s stream
  My twilight steps I guide,
But most beneath the lamp’s pale beam        15
  I miss thee from my side.
I spread my books, my pencil try,
  The lingering noon to cheer,
But miss thy kind, approving eye,
  Thy meek, attentive ear.        20
But when at morn and eve the star
  Beholds me on my knee,
I feel, though thou art distant far,
  Thy prayers ascend for me.
Then on! then on! where duty leads,        25
  My course be onward still,
O’er broad Hindostan’s sultry meads,
  O’er bleak Almorah’s hill.
That course nor Delhi’s kingly gates,
  Nor mild Malwah detain;        30
For sweet the bliss us both awaits
  By yonder western main.
Thy towers, Bombay, gleam bright, they say,
  Across the dark blue sea;
But never were hearts so light and gay        35
  As then shall meet in thee!

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