To a Highland Girl

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Sweet Highland Girl, a very showerOf beauty is thy earthly dower!Twice seven consenting years have shedTheir utmost bounty on thy head:And these grey rocks; that household lawn;Those trees, a veil just half withdrawn;This fall of water that doth makeA murmur near the silent lake;This little bay; a quiet roadThat holds in shelter thy Abode--In truth together do ye seemLike something fashioned in a dream;Such Forms as from their covert peepWhen earthly cares are laid asleep!But, O fair Creature! in the lightOf common day, so heavenly bright,I bless Thee, Vision as thou art,I bless thee with a human heart;God shield thee to thy latest years!Thee, neither know I, nor thy peers;And yet my eyes are filled with tears.

With earnest feeling I shall prayFor thee when I am far away:For never saw I mien, or face,In which more plainly I could traceBenignity and home-bred senseRipening in perfect innocence.Here scattered, like a random seed,Remote from men, Thou dost not needThe embarrassed look of shy distress,And maidenly shamefacedness:Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clearThe freedom of a Mountaineer:A face with gladness overspread!Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!And seemliness complete, that swaysThy courtesies, about thee plays;With no restraint, but such as springsFrom quick and eager visitingsOf thoughts that lie beyond the reachOf thy few words of English speech:A bondage sweetly brooked, a strifeThat gives thy gestures grace and life!So have I, not unmoved in mind,Seen birds of tempest-loving kind--Thus beating up against the wind.

What hand but would a garland cullFor thee who art so beautiful?O happy pleasure! here to dwellBeside thee in some heathy dell;Adopt your homely ways, and dress,A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess!But I could frame a wish for theeMore like a grave reality:Thou art to me but as a waveOf the wild sea; and I would haveSome claim upon thee, if I could,Though but of common neighbourhood.What joy to hear thee, and to see!Thy elder Brother I would be,Thy Father--anything to thee!

Now thanks to Heaven! that of its graceHath led me to this lonely place.Joy have I had; and going henceI bear away my recompense.In spots like these it is we prizeOur Memory, feel that she hath eyes:Then, why should I be loth to stir?I feel this place was made for her;To give new pleasure like the past,Continued long as life shall last.Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part;For I, methinks, till I grow old,As fair before me shall behold,As I do now, the cabin small,The lake, the bay, the waterfall;And thee, the spirit of them all!

© William Wordsworth