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Fair is the book where we read of a life
Born to a throne, taking love for its bliss,
Self-reproach wounding the sweet royal wife
For keeping two years he had asked for as his.
[Footnote 1: See 'Life of Prince Consort,' vol. i.]
So _I_ might suffer a sort of remorse,
Thinking of days that I cared not, yet knew;
Only, he says, ''Tis a matter of course
Girls should be woo'd and their lovers should woo.'
Only, the blossom he stoops not to touch.
Sparkling with beauty that lies at his feet;
Only, the blossom he coveteth much,
Is one that shineth as distant as sweet.
Only, a bird may fly helplessly near,
Chirping aloud in a manner too free;
Only, the bird he delighteth to hear,
Sings from the far-away top of a tree.
Is it for this he first fancied me, then?
He to whom earth her allegiance brings,
Noblest of nobles, a king among men,
Hero of heroes! a god among kings!
'Twill be very nice to be very old,
And with wrinkled brows and eyes that are dim,
To sit by the fire and in dreams behold
The face of the child that was woo'd by him.
Eve in her Eden, belov'd and preferr'd,
Sun, moon, and stars for her benefit made,
Bright as a blossom and gay as a bird,
Earth at her feet like a pleasure-ground laid;
All things about her benignant and fair--
Was she of Adam an actual part?
Love shining over her everywhere--
Had he no trouble in winning her heart?
Born with a mind even Kant must admit
Had no antecedents for doubt or regret,
Only white paper where nothing is writ,
Was she his wife the first moment they met?
Did she no gradual wooing receive?
Was she never a girl?--I am sorry for Eve!
Or if like others her history sped,
In those lovely regions to mortals unknown;
Flirting and courting and woo'd ere she wed,
Was the bird of her paradise Eve's chaperone?
I wonder if Adam my fancy would strike
As something like Harry!--What _is_ Harry like?
Handsome and tall, with command in his eye,
The sweetest of smiles giving sternness the lie;
His soldierly bearing keeps foemen at bay;
His hair is clipped close in the orthodox way;
His nose has a curve from the bridge to the tip:
A statue might envy his short upper lip.
He dances divinely, and walks with an air
Half autocratic and half debonair,
With something about him no words can define:
Eve, was your hero as handsome as mine?
And oh! the years that pass'd over my head
When I was leisurely growing or grown;
And oh! the minutes that suddenly led
To the sweetest thought that ever was known.
Only one glad little glance that I gave,
Where by the window the passion-flower grew,
And a strong man was turn'd into a slave,
Watching and waiting for all that I do.
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