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HE was not as pretty as women I know,

And yet all your best made of sunshine and snow Drop to shade, melt to nought in the long-trodden

ways, While she's still remembered on warm and cold days –

My Kate.


Her air had a meaning, her movements a grace;
You turned from the fairest to gaze on her face:
And when you had once seen her forehead and mouth,
You saw as distinctly her soul and her truth

My Kate.


Such a blue inner light from her eyelids outbroke, You looked at her silence and fancied she spoke : When she did, so peculiar yet soft was the tone, Though the loudest spoke also, you heard her alone

My Kate.


I doubt if she said to you much that could act
As a thought or suggestion ; she did not attract
In the sense of the brilliant or wise ; I infer
’T was her thinking of others, made you think of her

My Kate.




She never found fault with you, never implied
Your wrong by her right; and yet men at her side
Grew nobler, girls purer, as through the whole town
The children were gladder that pulled at her gown

My Kate.


None knelt at her feet confessed lovers in thrall ; They knelt more to God than they used, that was all ; If you praised her as charming, some asked what you

meant, But the charm of her presence was felt when she


My Kate.


The weak and the gentle, the ribald and rude,
She took as she found them, and did them all good;
It always was so with her,

see what


have ! She has made the grass greener even here — with her grave

My Kate.


My dear one! when thou wast alive with the rest,
I held thee the sweetest and loved thee the best;
And now thou art dead, shall I not take thy part,
As thy smiles used to do for thyself, my sweet Heart -

My Kate?



SWEET, thou hast trod on a heart,

Pass! there 's a world full of men; And women as fair as thou art

Must do such things now and then.


Thou only hast stepped unaware,

Malice, not one can impute;
And why should a heart have been there

In the way of a fair woman's foot ?


It was not a stone that could trip,

Nor was it a thorn that could rend; Put up thy proud underlip!

'T was merely the heart of a friend.


And yet peradventure one day

Thou, sitting alone at the glass, Remarking the bloom gone away,

Where the smile in its dimplement was,


And seeking around thee in vain,

From hundreds who flattered before, Such a word as, “ Oh, not in the main

Do I hold thee less precious, but more !”




Thou 'lt sigh, very like, on thy part,

“. Of all I have known or can know, I wish I had only that Heart

I trod upon ages ago !”


How do I love thee? Let me count the ways:

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight, For the ends of Being and Ideal Grace. I love thee to the level of every day's Most quiet need, by sun and candlelight. I love thee freely, as men strive for Right; I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise ; I love thee with the passion put to use In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith ; I love thee with a love I seemed to lose With

my lost saints; I love thee with the breath, Smiles, tears, of all my life! and, if God choose, I shall but love thee better after death.


I WILL paint her as I see her :

Ten times have the lilies blown
Since she looked upon the sun.

And her face is lily-clear,

Lily-shaped, and drooped in duty
To the law of its own beauty.

Oval cheeks, encolored faintly,

Which a trail of golden hair
Keeps from fading off to air ;

And a forehead fair and saintly,

Which two blue eyes undershine,
Like meek prayers before a shrine.

Face and figure of a child,

Though too calm, you think, and tender, For the childhood you would lend her.

Yet child-simple, undefiled,

Frank, obedient, waiting still
On the turnings of your will.

Moving light, as all young things,

As young birds, or early wheat
When the wind blows over it.

Only free from flutterings

Of loud mirth that scorneth measure,
Taking love for her chief pleasure;

Choosing pleasures (for the rest)

Which come softly, — just as she,
When she nestles at your knee.

Quiet talk she liketh best,

In a bower of gentle looks,
Watering flowers, or reading books.

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