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

Sir Walter Scott

428. To a Lock of Hair

THY hue, dear pledge, is pure and bright

As in that well-remember’d night

When first thy mystic braid was wove,

And first my Agnes whisper’d love.

Since then how often hast thou prest

The torrid zone of this wild breast,

Whose wrath and hate have sworn to dwell

With the first sin that peopled hell;

A breast whose blood’s a troubled ocean,

Each throb the earthquake’s wild commotion!

O if such clime thou canst endure

Yet keep thy hue unstain’d and pure,

What conquest o’er each erring thought

Of that fierce realm had Agnes wrought!

I had not wander’d far and wide

With such an angel for my guide;

Nor heaven nor earth could then reprove me

If she had lived and lived to love me.

Not then this world’s wild joys had been

To me one savage hunting scene,

My sole delight the headlong race

And frantic hurry of the chase;

To start, pursue, and bring to bay,

Rush in, drag down, and rend my prey,

Then—from the carcass turn away!

Mine ireful mood had sweetness tamed,

And soothed each wound which pride inflamed:—

Yes, God and man might now approve me

If thou hadst lived and lived to love me!