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AIRY, fairy Lilian,
When I ask her if she love me,
Claps her tiny hands above me,
Laughing all she can ; She'll not tell me if she love me,
Cruel little Lilian.
When my passion seeks
Pleasance in love-sighs She, looking thro' and thro' me Thoroughly to undo me,
Smiling, never speaks :
So innocent-arch, so cunning-simple, From beneath her gather'd wimple
Glancing with black-beaded eyes, Till the lightning laughters dimple
The baby-roses in her cheeks ;
Prythee weep, May Lilian !
Gaiety without eclipse Wearieth me, May Lilian : Thro'
my very heart it thrilleth When from crimson-threaded lips Silver-treble laughter trilleth :
Prythee weep, May Lilian.
Praying all I can, If prayers
will not hush thee, Airy Lilian, Like a rose-leaf I will crush thee,
Eyes not down-dropt nor over-bright, but fed
With the clear-pointed flame of chastity,
Pure vestal thoughts in the translucent fane Of her still spirit ; locks not wide dispread,
Madonna-wise on either side her head ;
Sweet lips whereon perpetually did reign
Revered Isabel, the crown and head,
Of perfect wifehood and pure lowlihead.
The intuitive decision of a bright
Error from crime; a prudence to withhold ;
The laws of marriage character'd in gold
Of subtle-paced counsel in distress,
Winning its way with extreme gentleness Thro' all the outworks of suspicious pride; A courage to endure and to obey; A hate of gossip parlance, and of sway, Crown'd Isabel, thro' all her placid life The queen of marriage, a most perfect wife.
The mellow'd reflex of a winter moon;
A clear stream flowing with a muddy one,
The vexed eddies of its wayward brother :
A leaning and upbearing parasite,
Clothing the stem, which else had fallen quite, With cluster'd flower-bells and ambrosial orbs
Of rich fruit-bunches leaning on each other
Shadow forth thee :—the world hath not another (Though all her fairest forms are types of thee, And thou of God in thy great charity) Of such a finish'd chasten'd purity.