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"And I have shadow'd many a group
Of beauties, that were born
In teacup-times of hood and hoop,
"And, leg and arm with love-knots gay,
About me leap'd and laugh'd
The modish Cupid of the day,
And shrill'd his tinsel shaft.
"I swear (and else may insects prick
Each leaf into a gall)
This girl, for whom your heart is sick, Is three times worth them all ;
"For those and theirs, by Nature's law,
Have faded long ago;
But in these latter springs I saw
Your own Olivia blow,
"From when she gamboll'd on the greens,
A baby-germ, to when
The maiden blossoms of her teens
Could number five from ten.
"I swear, by leaf, and wind, and rain, (And hear me with thine ears,)
That, tho' I circle in the grain
Five hundred rings of years
"Yet, since I first could cast a shade,
Did never creature pass
So slightly, musically made,
"For as to fairies, that will flit
To make the greensward fresh,
I hold them exquisitely knit,
But far too spare of flesh."
Oh, hide thy knotted knees in fern,
And overlook the chace;
And from thy topmost branch discern
The roofs of Sumner-place.
But thou, whereon I carved her name,
That oft hast heard my vows,
Declare when last Olivia came
To sport beneath thy boughs.
"O yesterday, you know, the fair
Was holden at the town;
Her father left his good arm-chair,
"And with him Albert came on his.
I look'd at him with joy :
As cowslip unto oxlip is,
So seems she to the boy.
"An hour had past—and, sitting straight
Within the low-wheel'd chaise,
Her mother trundled to the gate
Behind the dappled grays.
"But, as for her, she staid at home,
And on the roof she went,
And down the way you use to come
"She left the novel half-uncut
Upon the rosewood shelf;
She left the new piano shut :
She could not please herself.
"Then ran she, gamesome as the colt,
And livelier than a lark
She sent her voice through all the holt
Before her, and the park.
“A light wind chased her on the wing, And in the chase grew wild,
As close as might be would he cling
About the darling child :
"But light as any wind that blows
So fleetly did she stir,
The flower, she touch'd on, dipt and rose,
And turn'd to look at her.
"And here she came, and round me play'd,
And sang to me the whole
Of those three stanzas that you
She strove to span my waist :
Alas, I was so broad of girth,
I could not be embraced.