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What should one give to light on such a dream ?” I ask'd him half-sardonically.

Give ?

Give all thou art,” he answer'd, and a light

Of laughter dimpled in his swarthy cheek ;

I would have hid her needle in my heart,

To save her little finger from a scratch
No deeper than the skin : my ears could hear
Her lightest breaths : her least remark was worth
The experience of the wise. I went and came ;

Her voice fled always thro' the summer land ;

I spoke her name alone. Thrice-happy days !

The flower of each, those moments when we met,

The crown of all, we met to part no more.”

Were not his words delicious, I a beast


To take them as I did ? but something jarr’d;

Whether he spoke too largely : that there seem'd

A touch of something false, some self-conceit,

Or over-smoothness: howsoe'er it was,

He scarcely hit my humour, and I said :

“Friend Edwin, do not think yourself alone Of all men happy. Shall not Love to me,

As in the Latin song I learnt at school,

Sneeze out a full God-bless-you right and left?
But you can talk: yours is a kindly vein :
I have, I think, -Heaven knows-as much


Have, or should have, but for a thought or two,

That like a purple beech among the greens

Looks out of place: 'tis from no want in her :
It is my shyness, or my self-distrust,
Or something of a wayward modern mind
Dissecting passion. Time will set me right.”

So spoke I knowing not the things that were. Then said the fat-faced curate, Edward Bull:

“God made the woman for the use of man,

And for the good and increase of the world.”

And I and Edwin laugh’d; and now we paused

About the windings of the marge to hear

The soft wind blowing over meadowy holms
And alders, garden-isles; and now we left

The clerk behind us, I and he, and ran

By ripply shallows of the lisping lake,
Delighted with the freshness and the sound.

But, when the bracken rusted on their crags,

My suit had wither’d, nipt to death by him
That was a God, and is a lawyer's clerk,

The rentroll Cupid of our rainy isles.

'Tis true, we met; one hour I had, no more :

She sent a note, the seal an Elle vous suit,

The close “ Your Letty, only yours;" and this

Thrice underscored.

The friendly mist of morn

Clung to the lake. I boated over, ran
My craft aground, and heard with beating heart
The Sweet-Gale rustle round the shelving keel;
And out I stept, and up I crept: she moved,
Like Proserpine in Enna, gathering flowers :
Then low and sweet I whistled thrice; and she,

She turn'd, we closed, we kiss'd, swore faith, I


In some new planet : a silent cousin stole
Upon us and departed : “Leave,” she crie

O leave me !” Never, dearest, never : here

I brave the worst :” and while we stood like fools

Embracing, all at once a score of pugs
And poodles yeli'd within, and out they came
Trustees and Aunts and Uncles. “What, with

him !

Go” (shrill'd the cotton-spinning chorus); “ him!”

I choked.

Again they shriek'd the burthen

“ Him!”

Again with hands of wild rejection “Go!

Girl, get you in!” She went-and in one month

They wedded her to sixty thousand pounds,
To lands in Kent and messuages in York,

And slight Sir Robert with his watery smile

And educated whisker. But for me,

They set an ancient creditor to work :

It seems I broke a close with force and arms :

There came a mystic token from the king
To greet the sheriff, needless courtesy!
I read, and fled by night, and flying turn’d:
Her taper glimmer'd in the lake below:
I turn'd once more, close-button'd to the storm ;

So left the place, left Edwin, nor have seen

Him since, nor heard of her, nor cared to hear.

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