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

Charles Lamb

425. Hester

WHEN maidens such as Hester die

Their place ye may not well supply,

Though ye among a thousand try

With vain endeavour.

A month or more hath she been dead,

Yet cannot I by force be led

To think upon the wormy bed

And her together.

A springy motion in her gait,

A rising step, did indicate

Of pride and joy no common rate

That flush’d her spirit:

I know not by what name beside

I shall it call: if ’twas not pride,

It was a joy to that allied

She did inherit.

Her parents held the Quaker rule,

Which doth the human feeling cool;

But she was train’d in Nature’s school,

Nature had blest her.

A waking eye, a prying mind,

A heart that stirs, is hard to bind;

A hawk’s keen sight ye cannot blind,

Ye could not Hester.

My sprightly neighbour! gone before

To that unknown and silent shore,

Shall we not meet, as heretofore

Some summer morning—

When from thy cheerful eyes a ray

Hath struck a bliss upon the day,

A bliss that would not go away,

A sweet fore-warning?