The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2
Burton Egbert Stevenson

Part 6 out of 18

The sweetest and sleepiest
Bird at this hour!

George Darley [1795-1846]


Ah, sweet, thou little knowest how
I wake and passionate watches keep;
And yet, while I address thee now,
Methinks thou smilest in thy sleep.
'Tis sweet enough to make me weep,
That tender thought of love and thee,
That while the world is hushed so deep,
Thy soul's perhaps awake to me!

Sleep on, sleep on, sweet bride of sleep!
With golden visions for thy dower,
While I this midnight vigil keep,
And bless thee in thy silent bower;
To me 'tis sweeter than the power
Of sleep, and fairy dreams unfurled,
That I alone, at this still hour,
In patient love outwatch the world.

Thomas Hood [1799-1845]


Look out upon the stars, my love,
And shame them with thine eyes,
On which, than on the lights above,
There hang more destinies.
Night's beauty is the harmony
Of blending shades and light:
Then, lady, up, - look out, and be
A sister to the night!

Sleep not! - thine image wakes for aye
Within my watching breast;
Sleep not! - from her soft sleep should fly,
Who robs all hearts of rest.
Nay, lady, from thy slumbers break,
And make this darkness gay,
With looks whose brightness well might make
Of darker nights a day.

Edward Coote Pinkney [1802-1828]


Hide, happy damask, from the stars,
What sleep enfolds behind your veil,
But open to the fairy cars
On which the dreams of midnight sail;
And let the zephyrs rise and fall
About her in the curtained gloom,
And then return to tell me all
The silken secrets of the room.

Ah! dearest! may the elves that sway
Thy fancies come from emerald plots,
Where they have dozed and dreamed all day
In hearts of blue forget-me-nots.
And one perhaps shall whisper thus:
Awake! and light the darkness, Sweet!
While thou art reveling with us,
He watches in the lonely street.

Henry Timrod [1829-1867]

From "The Spanish Student"

Stars of the summer night!
Far in yon azure deeps,
Hide, hide your golden light!
She sleeps!
My lady sleeps!

Moon of the summer night!
Far down yon western steeps,
Sink, sink in silver light!
She sleeps!
My lady sleeps!

Wind of the summer night!
Where yonder woodbine creeps,
Fold, fold thy pinions light!
She sleeps!
My lady sleeps!

Dreams of the summer night!
Tell her, her lover keeps
Watch! while in slumbers light
She sleeps!
My lady sleeps!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [1807-1882]

From "Maud"

Come into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;
And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.

For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,
Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.

All night have the roses heard
The flute, violin, bassoon;
All night has the casement jessamine stirred
To the dancers dancing in tune;
Till a silence fell with the waking bird,
And a hush with the setting moon.

I said to the lily, "There is but one
With whom she has heart to be gay.
When will the dancers leave her alone?
She is weary of dance and play."
Now half to the setting moon are gone,
And half to the rising day;
Low on the sand and loud on the stone
The last wheel echoes away.

I said to the rose, "The brief night goes
In babble and revel and wine.
O young lord-lover, what sighs are those,
For one that will never be thine?
But mine, but mine," so I sware to the rose,
"For ever and ever, mine."

And the soul of the rose went into my blood,
As the music clashed in the hall:
And long by the garden lake I stood,
For I heard your rivulet fall
From the lake to the meadow and on to the wood,
Our wood, that is dearer than all;

From the meadow your walks have left so sweet
That whenever a March-wind sighs
He sets the jewel-print of your feet
In violets blue as your eyes,
To the woody hollows in which we meet
And the valleys of Paradise.

The slender acacia would not shake
One long milk-bloom on the tree;
The white lake-blossom fell into the lake
As the pimpernel dozed on the lea;
But the rose was awake all night for your sake,
Knowing your promise to me;
The lilies and roses were all awake,
They sighed for the dawn and thee.

Queen rose of the rosebud garden of girls,
Come hither, the dances are done,
In gloss of satin and glimmer of pearls,
Queen lily and rose in one;
Shine out, little head, sunning over with curls,
To the flowers, and be their sun.

There has fallen a splendid tear
From the passion-flower at the gate.
She is coming, my dove, my dear;
She is coming, my life, my fate;
The red rose cries, "She is near, she is near";
And the white rose weeps, "She is late";
The larkspur listens, "I hear, I hear";
And the lily whispers, "I wait."

She is coming my own, my sweet;
Were it ever so airy a tread,
My heart would hear her and beat,
Were it earth in an earthy bed;
My dust would hear her and beat,
Had I lain for a century dead;
Would start and tremble under her feet,
And blossom in purple and red.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


Ah, Minstrel, how strange is
The carol you sing!
Let Psyche, who ranges
The garden of spring,
Remember the changes
December will bring.

Beating Heart! we come again
Where my Love reposes:
This is Mabel's window-pane;
These are Mabel's roses.

Is she nested? Does she kneel
In the twilight stilly,
Lily clad from throat to heel,
She, my virgin Lily?

Soon the wan, the wistful stars,
Fading, will forsake her;
Elves of light, on beamy bars,
Whisper then, and wake her.

Let this friendly pebble plead
At her flowery grating;
If she hear me will she heed?
Mabel, I am waiting.

Mabel will be decked anon,
Zoned in bride's apparel;
Happy zone! Oh hark to yon
Passion-shaken carol!

Sing thy song, thou tranced thrush,
Pipe thy best, thy clearest; -
Hush, her lattice moves, oh hush -
Dearest Mabel! - dearest....

Frederick Locker-Lampson [1821-1895]


From the Desert I come to thee
On a stallion shod with fire;
And the winds are left behind
In the speed of my desire.
Under thy window I stand,
And the midnight hears my cry:
I love thee, I love but thee,
With a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment
Book unfold!

Look from thy window and see
My passion and my pain;
I lie on the sands below,
And I faint in thy disdain.
Let the night-winds touch thy brow
With the heat of my burning sigh,
And melt thee to hear the vow
Of a love that shall not die
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment
Book unfold!

My steps are nightly driven,
By the fever in my breast,
To hear from thy lattice breathed
The word that shall give me rest.
Open the door of thy heart,
And open thy chamber door,
And my kisses shall teach thy lips
The love that shall fade no more
Till the sun grows cold,
And the stars are old,
And the leaves of the Judgment
Book unfold!

Bayard Taylor [1825-1878]

From "Ernest Maltravers"

When stars are in the quiet skies,
Then most I pine for thee;
Bend on me, then, thy tender eyes,
As stars look on the sea!

For thoughts, like waves that glide by night,
Are stillest when they shine;
Mine earthly love lies hushed in light
Beneath the heaven of thine.

There is an hour when angels keep
Familiar watch o'er men,
When coarser souls are wrapped in sleep -
Sweet spirit, meet me then

There is an hour when holy dreams
Through slumber fairest glide;
And in that mystic hour it seems
Thou shouldst be by my side.

My thoughts of thee too sacred are
For daylight's common beam:
I can but know thee as my star,
My angel and my dream!

Edward George Earle Bulwer Lytton [1803-1873]


Up to her chamber window
A slight wire trellis goes,
And up this Romeo's ladder
Clambers a bold white rose.

I lounge in the ilex shadows,
I see the lady lean,
Unclasping her silken girdle,
The curtain's folds between.

She smiles on her white-rose lover,
She reaches out her hand
And helps him in at the window -
I see it where I stand!

To her scarlet lip she holds him,
And kisses him many a time -
Ah, me! it was he that won her
Because he dared to climb!

Thomas Bailey Aldrich [1837-1907]

Spanish Air

Good-night! I have to say good-night
To such a host of peerless things!
Good-night unto the slender hand
All queenly with its weight of rings;
Good-night to fond, uplifted eyes,
Good-night to chestnut braids of hair,
Good-night unto the perfect mouth,
And all the sweetness nestled there -
The snowy hand detains me, then
I'll have to say Good-night again!

But there will come a time, my love,
When, if I read our stars aright,
I shall not linger by this porch
With my farewells. Till then, good-night!
You wish the time were now? And I.
You do not blush to wish it so?
You would have blushed yourself to death
To own so much a year ago -
What, both these snowy hands! ah, then
I'll have to say Good-night again!

Thomas Bailey Aldrich [1837-1907]


The western wind is blowing fair
Across the dark Aegean sea,
And at the secret marble stair
My Tyrian galley waits for thee.
Come down! the purple sail is spread,
The watchman sleeps within the town;
O leave thy lily-flowered bed,
O Lady mine, come down, come down!

She will not come, I know her well,
Of lover's vows she hath no care,
And little good a man can tell
Of one so cruel and so fair.
True love is but a woman's toy,
They never know the lover's pain,
And I, who love as loves a boy,
Must love in vain, must love in vain.

O noble pilot, tell me true,
Is that the sheen of golden hair?
Or is it but the tangled dew
That binds the passion-flowers there?
Good sailor, come and tell me now,
Is that my Lady's lily hand?
Or is it but the gleaming prow,
Or is it but the silver sand?

No! no! 'tis not the tangled dew,
'Tis not the silver-fretted sand,
It is my own dear Lady true
With golden hair and lily hand!
O noble pilot, steer for Troy!
Good sailor, ply the laboring oar!
This is the Queen of life and joy
Whom we must bear from Grecian shore!

The waning sky grows faint and blue;
It wants an hour still of day;
Aboard! aboard! my gallant crew,
O Lady mine, away! away!
O noble pilot, steer for Troy!
Good sailor, ply the laboring oar!
O loved as only loves a boy!
O loved for ever, evermore!

Oscar Wilde [1856-1900]


O swan of slenderness,
Dove of tenderness,
Jewel of joys, arise!
The little red lark,
Like a soaring spark
Of song, to his sunburst flies;
But till thou art arisen,
Earth is a prison,
Full of my lonesome sighs:
Then awake and discover,
To thy fond lover,
The morn of thy matchless eyes.
The dawn is dark to me,
Hark! oh, hark to me,

Pulse of my heart, I pray!
And out of thy hiding
With blushes gliding,
Dazzle me with thy day.
Ah, then once more to thee
Flying I'll pour to thee
Passion so sweet and gay,
The larks shall listen,
And dew-drops glisten,
Laughing on every spray.

Alfred Perceval Graves [1846-1931]


By day my timid passions stand
Like begging children at your gate,
Each with a mute, appealing hand
To ask a dole of Fate;
But when night comes, released from doubt,
Like merry minstrels they appear,
The stars ring out their hopeful shout,
Beloved, can you hear?

They dare not sing to you by day
Their all-desirous song, or take
The world with their adventurous lay
For your enchanted sake.
But when the night-wind wakes and thrills
The shadows that the night unbars,
Their music fills the dreamy hills,
And folds the friendly stars.

Beloved, can you hear? They sing
Words that no mortal lips can sound;
Love through the world has taken wing,
My passions are unbound.
And now, and now, my lips, my eyes,
Are stricken dumb with hope and fear,
It is my burning soul that cries,
Beloved, can you hear?

Richard Middleton [1882-1911]



Sing lullaby, as women do,
Wherewith they bring their babes to rest;
And lullaby can I sing too,
As womanly as can the best.
With lullaby they still the child;
And if I be not much beguiled,
Full many a wanton babe have I,
Which must be stilled with lullaby.

First lullaby my youthful years,
It is now time to go to bed:
For crooked age and hoary hairs
Have won the haven within my head.
With lullaby, then, youth be still;
With lullaby content thy will;
Since courage quails and comes behind,
Go sleep, and so beguile thy mind!

Next lullaby my gazing eyes,
Which wonted were to glance apace;
For every glass may now suffice
To show the furrows in thy face.
With lullaby then wink awhile;
With lullaby your looks beguile;
Let no fair face, nor beauty bright,
Entice you eft with vain delight.

And lullaby my wanton will;
Let reason's rule now reign thy thought;
Since all too late I find by skill
How dear I have thy fancies bought;
With lullaby now take thine ease,
With lullaby thy doubts appease;
For trust to this, if thou be still,
My body shall obey thy will.

Thus lullaby my youth, mine eyes,
My will, my ware, and all that was:
I can no more delays devise;
But welcome pain, let pleasure pass.
With lullaby now take your leave;
With lullaby your dreams deceive;
And when you rise with waking eye,
Remember then this lullaby.

George Gascoigne [1525?-1577]


In the merry month of May,
In a morn by break of day,
Forth I walked by the wood-side
When as May was in his pride:
There I spied all alone
Phillida and Coridon.
Much ado there was, God wot!
He would love and she would not.
She said, Never man was true;
He said, None was false to you.
He said, He had loved her long;
She said, Love should have no wrong.
Coridon would kiss her then;
She said, Maids must kiss no men
Till they did for good and all;
Then she made the shepherd call
All the heavens to witness truth
Never loved a truer youth.
Thus with many a pretty oath,
Yea and nay, and faith and troth,
Such as silly shepherds use
When they will not Love abuse,
Love, which had been long deluded,
Was with kisses sweet concluded;
And Phillida, with garlands gay,
Was made the Lady of the May.

Nicholas Breton [1545?-1626?]

From "The Passionate Pilgrim"

Crabbed Age and Youth
Cannot live together:
Youth is full of pleasance,
Age is full of care;
Youth like summer morn,
Age like winter weather;
Youth like summer brave,
Age like winter bare.
Youth is full of sport,
Age's breath is short;
Youth is nimble, Age is lame;
Youth is hot and bold,
Age is weak and cold;
Youth is wild, and Age is tame.
Age, I do abhor thee;
Youth, I do adore thee;
O, my Love, my Love is young!
Age, I do defy thee:
O, sweet shepherd, hie thee!
For methinks thou stay'st too long.

William Shakespeare [1564-1616]

From "As You Like It"

It was a lover and his lass,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
That o'er the green corn-field did pass,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

Between the acres of the rye,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
These pretty country folks would lie,
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

This carol they began that hour,
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
How that life was but a flower
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

And, therefore, take the present time
With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino,
For love is crowned with the prime
In the spring time, the only pretty ring time,
When birds do sing, hey ding a ding, ding;
Sweet lovers love the spring.

William Shakespeare [1564-1616]


I loved a lass, a fair one,
As fair as e'er was seen;
She was indeed a rare one,
Another Sheba Queen:
But, fool as then I was,
I thought she loved me too:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Her hair like gold did glister,
Each eye was like a star,
She did surpass her sister,
Which passed all others far;
She would me honey call,
She'd - O she'd kiss me too!
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Many a merry meeting
My love and I have had;
She was my only sweeting,
She made my heart full glad;
The tears stood in her eyes
Like to the morning dew:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

Her cheeks were like the cherry,
Her skin was white as snow;
When she was blithe and merry
She angel-like did show;
Her waist exceeding small,
The fives did fit her shoe:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

In summer time or winter
She had her heart's desire;
I still did scorn to stint her
From sugar, sack, or fire;
The world went round about,
No cares we ever knew:
But now, alas! she's left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

To maidens' vows and swearing
Henceforth no credit give;
You may give them the hearing,
But never them believe;
They are as false as fair,
Unconstant, frail, untrue:
For mine, alas! hath left me,
Falero, lero, loo!

George Wither [1588-1667]


Ah, Chloris! that I now could sit
As unconcerned as when
Your infant beauty could beget
No pleasure, nor no pain!
When I the dawn used to admire,
And praised the coming day,
I little thought the growing fire
Must take my rest away.

Your charms in harmless childhood lay
Like metals in the mine;
Age from no face took more away
Than youth concealed in thine.
But as your charms insensibly
To their perfection pressed,
Fond love as unperceived did fly,
And in my bosom rest.

My passion with your beauty grew,
And Cupid at my heart,
Still as his mother favored you,
Threw a new flaming dart:
Each gloried in their wanton part;
To make a lover, he
Employed the utmost of his art -
To make a beauty, she.

Charles Sedley [1639?-1701]


The merchant, to secure his treasure,
Conveys it in a borrowed name:
Euphelia serves to grace my measure;
But Chloe is my real flame.

My softest verse, my darling lyre,
Upon Euphelia's toilet lay;
When Chloe noted her desire
That I should sing, that I should play.

My lyre I tune, my voice I raise;
But with my numbers mix my sighs:
And while I sing Euphelia's praise,
I fix my soul on Chloe's eyes.

Fair Chloe blushed: Euphelia frowned:
I sung, and gazed: I played, and trembled:
And Venus to the Loves around
Remarked, how ill we all dissembled.

Matthew Prior [1664-1721]


Pious Selinda goes to prayers,
If I but ask her favor;
And yet the silly fool's in tears
If she believes I'll leave her;
Would I were free from this restraint,
Or else had hopes to win her:
Would she could make of me a saint,
Or I of her a sinner.

William Congreve [1670-1729]


Fair Hebe I left, with a cautious design
To escape from her charms, and to drown them in wine,
I tried it; but found, when I came to depart,
The wine in my head, and still love in my heart.

I repaired to my Reason, entreated her aid;
Who paused on my case and each circumstance weighed,
Then gravely pronounced, in return to my prayer,
That "Hebe was fairest of all that was fair!"

"That's a truth," replied I, "I've no need to be taught;
I came for your counsel to find out a fault."
"If that's all," quoth Reason, "return as you came;
To find fault with Hebe, would forfeit my name."

What hopes then, alas! of relief from my pain,
While, like lightning, she darts through each throbbing vein?
My Senses surprised, in her favor took arms;
And Reason confirms me a slave to her charms.

John West [1693-1766]

From "The Contrivances"

Genteel in personage,
Conduct, and equipage,
Noble by heritage,
Generous and free:
Brave, not romantic;
Learned, not pedantic;
Frolic, not frantic;
This must he be.

Honor maintaining,
Meanness disdaining,
Still entertaining,
Engaging and new.
Neat, but not finical;
Sage, but not cynical;
Never tyrannical,
But ever true.

Henry Carey [? -1743]


O what a plague is love!
How shall I bear it?
She will inconstant prove,
I greatly fear it.
She so torments my mind
That my strength faileth,
And wavers with the wind
As a ship saileth.
Please her the best I may,
She loves still to gainsay;
Alack and well-a-day!
Phillada flouts me.

At the fair yesterday
She did pass by me;
She looked another way
And would not spy me:
I wooed her for to dine,
But could not get her;
Will had her to the wine -
He might entreat her.
With Daniel she did dance,
On me she looked askance:
O thrice unhappy chance!
Phillada flouts me.

Fair maid, be not so coy,
Do not disdain me!
I am my mother's joy:
Sweet, entertain me!
She'll give me, when she dies,
All that is fitting:
Her poultry and her bees,
And her goose sitting,
A pair of mattress beds,
And a bag full of shreds;
And yet, for all this guedes,
Phillada flouts me!

She hath a clout of mine
Wrought with blue coventry,
Which she keeps for a sign
Of my fidelity:
But i' faith, if she flinch
She shall not wear it;
To Tib, my t'other wench,
I mean to bear it.
And yet it grieves my heart
So soon from her to part:
Death strike me with his dart!
Phillada flouts me.

Thou shalt eat crudded cream
All the year lasting,
And drink the crystal stream
Pleasant in tasting;
Whig and whey whilst thou lust,
And bramble-berries,
Pie-lid and pastry-crust,
Pears, plums, and cherries.
Thy raiment shall be thin,
Made of a weevil's skin -
Yet all's not worth a pin!
Phillada flouts me.

In the last month of May
I made her posies;
I heard her often say
That she loved roses.
Cowslips and gillyflowers
And the white lily
I brought to deck the bowers
For my sweet Philly.
But she did all disdain,
And threw them back again;
Therefore 'tis flat and plain
Phillada flouts me.

Fair maiden, have a care,
And in time take me;
I can have those as fair
If you forsake me:
For Doll the dairy-maid
Laughed at me lately,
And wanton Winifred
Favors me greatly.
One throws milk on my clothes,
T'other plays with my nose;
What wanting signs are those?
Phillada flouts me.

I cannot work nor sleep
At all in season:
Love wounds my heart so deep
Without all reason
I 'gin to pine away
In my love's shadow,
Like as a fat beast may,
Penned in a meadow,
I shall be dead, I fear,
Within this thousand year:
And all for that my dear
Phillada flouts me.



When Molly smiles beneath her cow,
I feel my heart - I can't tell how;
When Molly is on Sunday dressed,
On Sundays I can take no rest.

What can I do? On worky days
I leave my work on her to gaze.
What shall I say? At sermons, I
Forget the text when Molly's by.

Good master curate, teach me how
To mind your preaching and my plow:
And if for this you'll raise a spell,
A good fat goose shall thank you well.



It was a lordling's daughter, the fairest one of three,
That liked of her master as well as well might be;
Till looking on an Englishman, the fair'st that eye could see
Her fancy fell a-turning.

Long was the combat doubtful that love with love did fight,
To leave the master loveless, or kill the gallant knight:
To put in practice either, alas! it was a spite
Unto the silly damsel.

But one must be refused: more mickle was the pain,
That nothing could be used to turn them both to gain;
For of the two the trusty knight was wounded with disdain:
Alas! she could not help it.

Thus art with arms contending was victor of the day,
Which by a gift of learning did bear the maid away;
Then lullaby, the learned man hath got the lady gays
For now my song is ended.


After Lessing

I asked my fair, one happy day,
What I should call her in my lay;
By what sweet name from Rome or Greece;
Lalage, Neaera, Chloris,
Sappho, Lesbia, or Doris,
Arethusa or Lucrece.

"Ah!" replied my gentle fair,
"Beloved, what are names but air?
Choose thou whatever suits the line;
Call me Sappho, call me Chloris,
Call me Lalage or Doris,
Only - only call me thine."

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


We pledged our hearts, my love and I, -
I in my arms the maiden clasping:
I could not tell the reason why,
But oh! I trembled like an aspen.

Her father's love she bade me gain;
I went, and shook like any reed!
I strove to act the man - in vain!
We had exchanged our hearts indeed.

Samuel Taylor Coleridge [1772-1834]


Comin' through the rye, poor body,
Comin' through the rye,
She draiglet a' her petticoatie,
Comin' through the rye.

Oh Jenny's a' wat poor body,
Jenny's seldom dry;
She draiglet a' her petticoatie,
Comin' through the rye.

Gin a body meet a body,
Comin' through the rye,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need a body cry?

Gin a body meet a body
Comin' through the glen,
Gin a body kiss a body,
Need the warld ken?

Robert Burns [1759-1796]


There's naught but care on every han',
In every hour that passes, O!
What signifies the life o' man,
An' 'twere na for the lasses, O?

Green grow the rashes, O!
Green grow the rashes, O!
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend,
Are spent amang the lasses, O!

The warl'ly race may riches chase,
An' riches still may fly them, O!
An' though at last they catch them fast,
Their hearts can ne'er enjoy them, O!

Gie me a canny hour at e'en;
My arms about my dearie, O!
An' warl'ly cares, an' warl'ly men,
May a' gae tapsalteerie, O!

For you sae douce, ye sneer at this;
Ye'er naught but senseless asses, O!
The wisest man the warl' e'er saw
He dearly loved the lasses, O!

Auld Nature swears the lovely dears
Her noblest work she classes, O!
Her 'prentice han' she tried on man,
An' then she made the lasses, O!

Robert Burns [1759-1796]


Catch her and hold her if you can -
See, she defies you with her fan,
Shuts, opens, and then holds it spread
In threatening guise above your head.
Ah! why did you not start before
She reached the porch and closed the door?
Simpleton! will you never learn
That girls and time will not return;
Of each you should have made the most;
Once gone, they are forever lost.
In vain your knuckles knock your brow,
In vain will you remember how
Like a slim brook the gamesome maid
Sparkled, and ran into the shade.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]


In Clementina's artless mien
Lucilla asks me what I see,
And are the roses of sixteen
Enough for me?

Lucilla asks, if that be all,
Have I not culled as sweet before:
Ah yes, Lucilla! and their fall
I still deplore.

I now behold another scene,
Where Pleasure beams with Heaven's own light,
More pure, more constant, more serene,
And not less bright.

Faith, on whose breast the Loves repose,
Whose chain of flowers no force can sever,
And Modesty who, when she goes,
Is gone for ever.

Walter Savage Landor [1775-1864]


The time I've lost in wooing,
In watching and pursuing
The light that lies
In woman's eyes,
Has been my heart's undoing.
Though Wisdom oft has sought me,
I scorned the lore she brought me, -
My only books
Were women's looks,
And folly's all they taught me.

Her smile when Beauty granted,
I hung with gaze enchanted,
Like him the sprite
Whom maids by night
Oft meet in glen that's haunted.
Like him, too, Beauty won me;
But when the spell was on me,
If once their ray
Was turned away,
O! winds could not outrun me.

And are those follies going?
And is my proud heart growing
Too cold or wise
For brilliant eyes
Again to set it glowing?
No - vain, alas! th' endeavor
From bonds so sweet to sever; -
Poor Wisdom's chance
Against a glance
Is now as weak as ever.

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]


"She has beauty, but you must keep your heart cool;
She has wit, but you mustn't be caught so":
Thus Reason advises, but Reason's a fool,
And 'tis not the first time I have thought so,
Dear Fanny,
'Tis not the first time I have thought so.

"She is lovely; then love her, nor let the bliss fly;
'Tis the charm of youth's vanishing season";
Thus Love has advised me, and who will deny
That Love reasons better than Reason,
Dear Fanny
Love reasons much better than Reason.

Thomas Moore [1779-1852]


There's a certain young lady,
Who's just in her hey-day,
And full of all mischief, I ween;
So teasing! so pleasing!
Capricious! delicious!
And you know very well whom I mean.

With an eye dark as night,
Yet than noonday more bright,
Was ever a black eye so keen?
It can thrill with a glance,
With a beam can entrance,
And you know very well whom I mean.

With a stately step - such as
You'd expect in a duchess -
And a brow might distinguish a queen,
With a mighty proud air,
That says "touch me who dare,"
And you know very well whom I mean.

With a toss of the head
That strikes one quite dead,
But a smile to revive one again;
That toss so appalling!
That smile so enthralling!
And you know very well whom I mean.

Confound her! de'il take her! -
A cruel heart-breaker -
But hold! see that smile so serene.
God love her! God bless her!
May nothing distress her!
You know very well whom I mean.

Heaven help the adorer
Who happens to bore her,
The lover who wakens her spleen;
But too blest for a sinner
Is he who shall win her,
And you know very well whom I mean.

Washington Irving [1783-1859]


Where be you going, you Devon maid?
And what have ye there in the basket?
Ye tight little fairy, just fresh from the dairy,
Will ye give me some cream if I ask it?

I love your hills and I love your dales,
And I love your flocks a-bleating;
But oh, on the heather to lie together,
With both our hearts a-beating!

I'll put your basket all safe in a nook;
Your shawl I'll hang on a willow;
And we will sigh in the daisy's eye,
And kiss on a grass-green pillow.

John Keats [1795-1821]


They may talk of love in a cottage,
And bowers of trellised vine, -
Of nature bewitchingly simple,
And milkmaids half divine;
They may talk of the pleasure of sleeping
In the shade of a spreading tree,
And a walk in the fields at morning,
By the side of a footstep free!

But give me a sly flirtation
By the light of a chandelier, -
With music to play in the pauses,
And nobody very near;
Or a seat on a silken sofa,
With a glass of pure old wine,
And mamma too blind to discover
The small white hand in mine.

Your love in a cottage is hungry,
Your vine is a nest for flies, -
Your milkmaid shocks the Graces,
And simplicity talks of pies!
You lie down to your shady slumber
And wake with a bug in your ear,
And your damsel that walks in the morning
Is shod like a mountaineer.

True love is at home on a carpet,
And mightily likes his ease; -
And true love has an eye for a dinner,
And starves beneath shady trees.
His wing is the fan of a lady,
His foot's an invisible thing,
And his arrow is tipped with a jewel,
And shot from a silver string.

Nathaniel Parker Willis [1806-1867]

From "Queen Mary"

Shame upon you, Robin,
Shame upon you now!
Kiss me would you? with my hands
Milking the cow?
Daisies grow again,
Kingcups blow again,
And you came and kissed me milking the cow.

Robin came behind me,
Kissed me well, I vow;
Cuff him could I? with my hands
Milking the cow?
Swallows fly again,
Cuckoos cry again,
And you came and kissed me milking the cow.

Come, Robin, Robin,
Come and kiss me now;
Help it can I? with my hands
Milking the cow?
Ringdoves coo again,
All things woo again,
Come behind and kiss me milking the cow!

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


I know a girl with teeth of pearl,
And shoulders white as snow;
She lives, - ah well,
I must not tell, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

Her sunny hair is wondrous fair,
And wavy in its flow;
Who made it less
One little tress, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

Her eyes are blue (celestial hue!)
And dazzling in their glow;
On whom they beam
With melting gleam, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

Her lips are red and finely wed,
Like roses ere they blow;
What lover sips
Those dewy lips, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

Her fingers are like lilies fair
When lilies fairest grow;
Whose hand they press
With fond caress, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

Her foot is small, and has a fall
Like snowflakes on the snow;
And where it goes
Beneath the rose, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

She has a name, the sweetest name
That language can bestow.
'Twould break the spell
If I should tell, -
Wouldn't you like to know?

John Godfrey Saxe [1816-1887]


There sits a bird on every tree;
Sing heigh-ho!
There sits a bird on every tree,
And courts his love as I do thee;
Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho!
Young maids must marry.

There grows a flower on every bough;
Sing heigh-ho!
There grows a flower on every bough,
Its petals kiss - I'll show you how:
Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho!
Young maids must marry.

From sea to stream the salmon roam;
Sing heigh-ho!
From sea to stream the salmon roam;
Each finds a mate and leads her home;
Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho!
Young maids must marry.

The sun's a bridegroom, earth a bride;
Sing heigh-ho!
They court from morn till eventide:
The earth shall pass, but love abide.
Sing heigh-ho, and heigh-ho!
Young maids must marry.

Charles Kingsley [1819-1875]


Love is a little golden fish,
Wondrous shy . . . ah, wondrous shy . . .
You may catch him if you wish;
He might make a dainty dish . . .
But I . . .
Ah, I've other fish to fry!

For when I try to snare this prize,
Earnestly and patiently,
All my skill the rogue defies,
Lurking safe in Aimee's eyes . . .
So, you see,
I am caught and Love goes free!

George Arnold [1834-1865]


God makes sech nights, all white an' still
Fur 'z you can look or listen,
Moonshine an' snow on field an' hill,
All silence an' all glisten.

Zekle crep' up quite unbeknown
An' peeked in thru' the winder,
An' there sot Huldy all alone,
'ith no one nigh to hender.

A fireplace filled the room's one side,
With half a cord o' wood in -
There warn't no stoves (tell comfort died)
To bake ye to a puddin'.

The wa'nut logs shot sparkles out
Towards the pootiest, bless her!
An' leetle flames danced all about
The chiny on the dresser.

Agin the chimbley crook-necks hung,
An' in amongst 'em rusted
The ole queen's-arm thet gran'ther Young
Fetched back f'om Concord busted.

The very room, coz she was in,
Seemed warm f'om floor to ceilin',
An' she looked full ez rosy agin
Ez the apples she was peelin.

'Twas kin' o' kingdom-come to look
On sech a blessed cretur,
A dogrose blushin' to a brook
Ain't modester nor sweeter.

He was six foot o' man, A I,
Clear grit an' human natur';
None couldn't quicker pitch a ton,
Nor dror a furrer straighter.

He'd sparked it with full twenty gals,
He'd squired 'em, danced 'em, druv 'em,
Fust this one, an' then thet, by spells -
All is, he couldn't love 'em.

But long o' her his veins 'ould run
All crinkly like curled maple,
The side she breshed felt full o' sun
Ez a south slope in Ap'il.

She thought no v'ice hed sech a swing
Ez hisn in the choir;
My! when he made Ole Hundred ring,
She knowed the Lord was nigher.

An' she'd blush scarlit, right in prayer,
When her new meetin'-bunnet
Felt somehow thru' its crown a pair
O' blue eyes sot upun it.

Thet night, I tell ye, she looked some!
She seemed to've gut a new soul,
For she felt sartin-sure he'd come,
Down to her very shoe-sole.

She heered a foot, an' knowed it tu,
A-raspin' on the scraper, -
All ways to once her feelin's flew
Like sparks in burnt-up paper.

He kin' o' l'itered on the mat,
Some doubtfle o' the sekle,
His heart kep' goin' pitty-pat,
But hern went pity Zekle.

An' yit she gin her cheer a jerk
Ez though she wished him furder,
An' on her apples kep' to work,
Parin' away like murder.

"You want to see my Pa, I s'pose?"
"Wal . . . no . . . I come dasignin"
"To see my Ma? She's sprinklin' clo'es
Agin to-morrer's i'nin'."

To say why gals acts so or so,
Or don't, 'ould be presumin';
Mebby to mean yes an' say no
Comes nateral to women.

He stood a spell on one foot fust,
Then stood a spell on t'other,
An' on which one he felt the wust
He couldn't ha' told ye nuther.

Says he, "I'd better call ag'in";
Says she, "Think likely, Mister";
Thet last word pricked him like a pin,
An' . . . Wal, he up an' kissed her.

When Ma bimeby upon 'em slips,
Huldy sot pale ez ashes,
All kin' o' smily roun' the lips
An' teary roun' the lashes.

For she was jes' the quiet kind
Whose naturs never vary,
Like streams that keep a summer mind
Snow-hid in Jenooary.

The blood clost roun' her heart felt glued
Too tight for all expressin',
Tell mother see how metters stood
And gin 'em both her blessin'.

Then her red come back like the tide
Down to the Bay o' Fundy,
An' all I know is they was cried
In meetin' come nex' Sunday.

James Russell Lowell [1819-1891]


Curled up and sitting on her feet,
Within the window's deep embrasure,
Is Lydia; and across the street,
A lad, with eyes of roguish azure,
Watches her buried in her book.
In vain he tries to win a look,
And from the trellis over there
Blows sundry kisses through the air,
Which miss the mark, and fall unseen,
Uncared for. Lydia is thirteen.

My lad, if you, without abuse,
Will take advice from one who's wiser,
And put his wisdom to more use
Than ever yet did your adviser;
If you will let, as none will do,
Another's heartbreak serve for two,
You'll have a care, some four years hence,
How you lounge there by yonder fence
And blow those kisses through that screen -
For Lydia will be seventeen.

Thomas Bailey Aldrich [1837-1907]


She has a primrose at her breast,
I almost wish I were a Tory.
I like the Radicals the best;
She has a primrose at her breast;
Now is it chance she so is dressed,
Or must I tell a story?
She has a primrose at her breast,
I almost wish I were a Tory.

Gleeson White [1851-1898]


Oh, if the world were mine, Love,
I'd give the world for thee!
Alas! there is no sign, Love,
Of that contingency.

Were I a king, - which isn't
To be considered now, -
A diadem had glistened
Upon that lovely brow.

Had fame with laurels crowned me, -
She hasn't, up to date, -
Nor time nor change had found me
To love and thee ingrate.

If Death threw down his gage, Love,
Though life is dear to me,
I'd die, e'en of old age, Love,
To win a smile from thee.

But being poor, we part, dear,
And love, sweet love, must die;
Thou wilt not break thy heart, dear,
No more, I think, shall I!

James Jeffrey Roche [1847-1908]


Your eyes were made for laughter:
Sorrow befits them not;
Would you be blithe hereafter,
Avoid the lover's lot.

The rose and lily blended
Possess your cheeks so fair;
Care never was intended
To leave his furrows there.

Your heart was not created
To fret itself away,
By being unduly mated
To common human clay.

But hearts were made for loving -
Confound philosophy!
Forget what I've been proving,
Sweet Phyllis, and love me!

James Jeffrey Roche [1847-1908]


In the years about twenty
(When kisses are plenty)
The love of an Irish lass fell to my fate -
So winsome and sightly,
So saucy and sprightly,
The priest was a prophet that christened her Kate.

Soft gray of the dawning,
Bright blue of the morning,
The sweet of her eye there was nothing to mate;
A nose like a fairy's,
A cheek like a cherry's,
And a smile - well, her smile was like - nothing but Kate.

To see her was passion,
To love her, the fashion;
What wonder my heart was unwilling to wait!
And, daring to love her,
I soon did discover
A Katherine masking in mischievous Kate.

No Katy unruly
But Katherine, truly -
Fond, serious, patient, and even sedate;
With a glow in her gladness
That banishes sadness -
Yet stay! Should I credit the sunshine to Kate?

Love cannot outlive it,
Wealth cannot o'ergive it -
The saucy surrender she made at the gate.
O Time, be but human,
Spare the girl in the woman!
You gave me my Katherine - leave me my Kate!

Robert Underwood Johnson [1853-


Sweet sixteen is shy and cold,
Calls me "sir," and thinks me old;
Hears in an embarrassed way
All the compliments I pay;

Finds my homage quite a bore,
Will not smile on me, and more
To her taste she finds the noise
And the chat of callow boys.

Not the lines around my eye,
Deepening as the years go by;
Not white hairs that strew my head,
Nor my less elastic tread;

Cares I find, nor joys I miss,
Make me feel my years like this: -
Sweet sixteen is shy and cold,
Calls me "sir," and thinks me old.

Walter Learned [1847-1915]


When I was ten and she fifteen -
Ah, me! how fair I thought her.
She treated with disdainful mien
The homage that I brought her,
And, in a patronizing way,
Would of my shy advances say:
"It's really quite absurd, you see;
He's very much too young for me."

I'm twenty now, she twenty-five -
Well, well! how old she's growing.
I fancy that my suit might thrive
If pressed again; but, owing
To great discrepancy in age,
Her marked attentions don't engage
My young affections, for, you see,
She's really quite too old for me.

Walter Learned [1847-1915]


Her lips were so near
That - what else could I do?
You'll be angry, I fear.
But her lips were so near -
Well, I can't make it clear,
Or explain it to you.
But - her lips were so near
That - what else could I do?

Walter Learned [1847-1915]


Long from the lists of love I stood aloof
My heart was steeled and I was beauty-proof;
Yet I, unscathed in many a peril past,
Lo! here am I defeated at the last.

My practice was, in easy-chair reclined,
Superior-wise to speak of womankind,
Waving away the worn-out creed of love
To join the smoke that wreathed itself above.

Love, I said in my wisdom, Love is dead,
For all his fabled triumphs - and instead
We find a calm affectionate respect,
Doled forth by Intellect to Intellect.

Yet when Love, taking vengeance, smote me sore,
My Siren called me from no classic shore;
It was no Girton trumpet that laid low
The walls of this Platonic Jericho.

For when my peace of mind at length was stole,
I thought no whit of Intellect or Soul,
Nay! I was cast in pitiful distress
By brown eyes wide with truth and tenderness.

Alfred Cochrane [1865-


Along the lane beside the mead
Where cowslip-gold is in the grass
I matched the milkmaid's easy speed,
A tall and springing country lass:
But though she had a merry plan
To shield her from my soft replies,
Love played at Catch-me-if-you-Can
In Mary's eyes.

A mile or twain from Varley bridge
I plucked a dock-leaf for a fan,
And drove away the constant midge,
And cooled her forehead's strip of tan.
But though the maiden would not spare
My hand her pretty finger-tips,
Love played at Kiss-me-if-you-Dare
On Mary's lips.

Since time was short and blood was bold,
I drew me closer to her side,
And watched her freckles change from gold
To pink beneath a blushing tide.
But though she turned her face away,
How much her panting heart confessed!
Love played at Find-me-for-you-May
In Mary's breast.

Norman Gale [1862-


'Twas a Jacqueminot rose
That she gave me at parting;
Sweetest flower that blows,
'Twas a Jacqueminot rose.
In the love garden close,
With the swift blushes starting,
'Twas a Jacqueminot rose
That she gave me at parting.

If she kissed it, who knows -
Since I will not discover,
And love is that close,
If she kissed it, who knows?
Or if not the red rose
Perhaps then the lover!
If she kissed it, who knows,
Since I will not discover.

Yet at least with the rose
Went a kiss that I'm wearing!
More I will not disclose,
Yet at least with the rose
Went whose kiss no one knows, -
Since I'm only declaring,
"Yet at least with the rose
Went a kiss that I'm wearing."

Arlo Bates [1850-1918]


The bride cam' out o' the byre,
And oh, as she dighted her cheeks:
"Sirs, I'm to be married the night,
And ha'e neither blankets nor sheets;
Ha'e neither blankets nor sheets,
Nor scarce a coverlet too;
The bride that has a' thing to borrow,
Has e'en right muckle ado!"
Wooed and married, and a',
Married and wooed and a'!
And was she nae very weel aff,
That was wooed and married and a'?

Out spake the bride's father,
As he cam' in frae the pleugh:
"Oh, haud your tongue, my dochter,
And ye'se get gear eneugh;
The stirk stands i' the tether,
And our braw bawsint yaud,
Will carry ye hame your corn -
What wad ye be at, ye jaud?"

Out spake the bride's mither:
"What deil needs a' this pride?
I had nae a plack in my pouch
That night I was a bride;
My gown was linsey woolsey,
And ne'er a sark ava;
And ye ha'e ribbons and buskins,
Mair than ane or twa."

Out spake the bride's brither,
As he cam' in wi' the kye:
"Poor Willie wad ne'er ha'e ta'en ye,
Had he kent ye as weel as I;
For ye're baith proud and saucy
And no for a puir man's wife;
Gin I canna get a better,
I'se ne'er tak' ane i' my life."

Out spake the bride's sister,
As she cam' in frae the byre:
"O gin I were but married,
It's a' that I desire;
But we puir folk maun live single,
And do the best we can;
I dinna ken what I should want,
If I could get but a man!"

Alexander Ross [1699-1784]


Comin' though the craigs o' Kyle,
Amang the bonnie bloomin' heather,
There I met a bonnie lassie,
Keepin' a' her ewes thegither.

Owre the muir amang the heather,
Owre the muir amang the heather;
There I met a bonnie lassie,
Keepin' a' her ewes thegither.

Says I, My dear, where is thy hame, -
In muir or dale, pray tell me whether?
She says, I tent the fleecy flocks
That feed amang the bloomin' heather.

We laid us down upon a bank,
Sae warm and sunny was the weather:
She left her flocks at large to rove
Amang the bonnie bloomin' heather.

While thus we lay, she sung a sang,
Till echo rang a mile and farther;
And aye the burden of the sang
Was, Owre the muir amang the heather.

She charmed my heart, and aye sinsyne
I couldna think on ony ither:
By sea and sky! she shall be mine,
The bonnie lass amang the heather.

Jean Glover [1758-1801]


Quoth Rab to Kate, My sonsy dear,
I've wooed ye mair than ha' a year,
An' if ye'd wed me ne'er cou'd speer,
Wi' blateness, an' the care o't.
Now to the point: sincere I'm wi't:
Will ye be my ha'f-marrow, sweet?
Shake han's, and say a bargain be't
An' ne'er think on the care o't.

Na, na, quo' Kate, I winna wed,
O' sic a snare I'll aye be rede;
How mony, thochtless, are misled
By marriage, an' the care o't!
A single life's a life o' glee,
A wife ne'er think to mak' o' me,
Frae toil an' sorrow I'll keep free,
An' a' the dool an' care o't.

Weel, weel, said Robin, in reply,
Ye ne'er again shall me deny,
Ye may a toothless maiden die
For me, I'll tak' nae care o't.
Fareweel for ever! - aff I hie; -
Sae took his leave without a sigh;
Oh! stop, quo' Kate, I'm yours, I'll try
The married life, an' care o't.

Rab wheel't about, to Kate cam' back,
An' ga'e her mou' a hearty smack,
Syne lengthened out a lovin' crack
'Bout marriage an' the care o't.
Though as she thocht she didna speak,
An' lookit unco mim an' meek,
Yet blithe was she wi' Rab to cleek,
In marriage, wi' the care o't.

Robert Lochore [1762-1852]


O sairly may I rue the day
I fancied first the womenkind;
For aye sinsyne I ne'er can ha'e
Ae quiet thought or peace o' mind!
They ha'e plagued my heart, an' pleased my e'e,
An' teased an' flattered me at will,
But aye, for a' their witchery,
The pawky things! I lo'e them still.
O, the women folk! O, the women folk,
But they ha'e been the wreck o' me;
O, weary fa' the women folk,
For they winna let a body be!

I ha'e thought an' thought, but darena tell,
I've studied them wi' a' my skill,
I've lo'ed them better than mysel',
I've tried again to like them ill.
Wha sairest strives, will sairest rue,
To comprehend what nae man can;
When he has done what man can do,
He'll end at last where he began.
That they ha'e gentle forms an' meet,
A man wi' half a look may see;
An' gracefu' airs, an' faces sweet,
An' waving curls aboon the bree!
An' smiles as saft as the young rose-bud,
An' e'en sae pawky, bright, an' rare,
Wad lure the laverock frae the clud -
But, laddie, seek to ken nae mair!

James Hogg [1770-1835]


I lately lived in quiet ease,
An' never wished to marry, O!
But when I saw my Peggy's face,
I felt a sad quandary, O!
Though wild as ony Athol deer,
She has trepanned me fairly, O!
Her cherry cheeks an' een sae clear
Torment me late an' early, O!
O, love, love, love!
Love is like a dizziness;


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