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I STRANGE fits of passion have I known: And I will dare to tell, But in the lover’s ear alone, What once to me befell. When she I loved look’d every day 5 Fresh as a rose in June, I to her cottage bent my way, Beneath an evening moon. Upon the moon I fix’d my eye, All over the wide lea; 10 With quickening pace my horse drew nigh Those paths so dear to me. And now we reach’d the orchard-plot; And, as we climb’d the hill, The sinking moon to Lucy’s cot 15 Came near and nearer still. In one of those sweet dreams I slept, Kind Nature’s gentlest boon! And all the while my eyes I kept On the descending moon. 20 My horse moved on; hoof after hoof He raised, and never stopp’d: When down behind the cottage roof, At once, the bright moon dropp’d. What fond and wayward thoughts will slide 25 Into a lover’s head! ‘O mercy!’ to myself I cried, ‘If Lucy should be dead!’ - II She dwelt among the untrodden ways Beside the springs of Dove; 30 A maid whom there were none to praise, And very few to love. A violet by a mossy stone Half-hidden from the eye! —Fair as a star, when only one 35 Is shining in the sky. She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and, O! The difference to me! 40 - III I travell’d among unknown men In lands beyond the sea; Nor, England! did I know till then What love I bore to thee. ’Tis past, that melancholy dream! 45 Nor will I quit thy shore A second time, for still I seem To love thee more and more. Among thy mountains did I feel The joy of my desire; 50 And she I cherish’d turn’d her wheel Beside an English fire. Thy mornings show’d, thy nights conceal’d The bowers where Lucy play’d; And thine too is the last green field 55 That Lucy’s eyes survey’d. - IV Three years she grew in sun and shower; Then Nature said, ‘A lovelier flower On earth was never sown: This child I to myself will take; 60 She shall be mine, and I will make A lady of my own. ‘Myself will to my darling be Both law and impulse: and with me The girl, in rock and plain, 65 In earth and heaven, in glade and bower, Shall feel an overseeing power To kindle or restrain. ‘She shall be sportive as the fawn That wild with glee across the lawn 70 Or up the mountain springs; And her’s shall be the breathing balm, And her’s the silence and the calm Of mute insensate things. ‘The floating clouds their state shall lend 75 To her; for her the willow bend; Nor shall she fail to see E’en in the motions of the storm Grace that shall mould the maiden’s form By silent sympathy. 80 ‘The stars of midnight shall be dear To her; and she shall lean her ear In many a secret place Where rivulets dance their wayward round, And beauty born of murmuring sound 85 Shall pass into her face. ‘And vital feelings of delight Shall rear her form to stately height, Her virgin bosom swell; Such thoughts to Lucy I will give 90 Where she and I together live Here in this happy dell.’ Thus Nature spake—The work was done— How soon my Lucy’s race was run! She died, and left to me 95 This heath, this calm and quiet scene; The memory of what has been, And never more will be. - V A slumber did my spirit seal; I had no human fears: 100 She seem’d a thing that could not feel The touch of earthly years. No motion has she now, no force; She neither hears nor sees; Roll’d round in earth’s diurnal course 105 With rocks, and stones, and trees.
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In the 1600s, Balthasar Gracian, a jesuit priest wrote 300 aphorisms on living life called "The Art of Worldly Wisdom." Join our newsletter below and read them all, one at a time.
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