by Elizabeth Barrett Browning




Mine is a wayward lay;

And, if its echoing rhymes I try to string,

Proveth a truant thing,

Whenso some names I love, send it away!


For then, eyes swimming o’er,

And clasped hands, and smiles in fondness meant,

Are much more eloquent,

So it had fain begone, and speak no more!


Yet shall it come again,

Ah, friend belov’d! if so thy wishes be,

And, with wild melody,

I will, upon thine ear, cadence my strain.


Cadence my simple line,

Unfashion’d by the cunning hand of Art,

But coming from my heart,

To tell the message of its love to thine!


As ocean shells, when taken

From Ocean’s bed, will faithfully repeat

Her ancient music sweet,

Ev’n so these words, true until my heart, shall waken!


Oh! while our bark is seen,

Our little bark of kindly, social love,

Down life’s clear stream to move

Toward the summer shores, where all is green.


So long thy name shall bring,

Echoes of joy unto the grateful gales,

And thousand tender tales,

freshen the fond hearts that round thee cling!


Hast thou not look’d upon

The flowerets of the field in lowly dress?

Blame not my simpleness,

Think only of my love! my song is gone.


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