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English Poetry II: From Collins to Fitzgerald.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

William Wordsworth

387. To the Highland Girl of Inversneyde

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 gray rocks, this household lawn,

These trees—a veil just half withdrawn,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;

In truth together ye do seem

Like something fashion’d 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!

I neither know thee nor thy peers:

And yet my eyes are fill’d 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 scatter’d, like a random seed,

Remote from men, Thou dost not need

The embarrass’d look of shy distress,

And maidenly shamefacédness:

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

Of thy few words of English speech:

A bondage sweetly brook’d, 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;

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,

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 recompense.

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,

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!