by: James Russell Lowell (1819-1891)

      OT as all other women are
      Is she that to my soul is dear;
      Her glorious fancies come from far,
      Beneath the silver evening-star,
      And yet her heart is ever near.
      Great feelings hath she of her own,
      Which lesser souls may never know;
      God giveth them to her alone,
      And sweet they are as any tone
      Wherewith the wind may choose to blow.
      Yet in herself she dwelleth not,
      Although no home were half so fair;
      No simplest duty is forgot,
      Life hath no dim and lowly spot
      That doth not in her sunshine share.
      She doeth little kindnesses,
      Which most leave undone, or despise:
      For naught that sets one heart at ease,
      And giveth happiness or peace,
      Is low-esteemèd in her eyes.
      She hath no scorn of common things,
      And, though she seem of other birth,
      Round us her heart entwines and clings,
      And patiently she folds her wings
      To tread the humble paths of earth.
      Blessing she is: God made her so,
      And deeds of week-day holiness
      Fall from her noiseless as the snow,
      Nor hath she ever chanced to know
      That aught were easier than to bless.
      She is most fair, and thereunto
      Her life doth rightly harmonize;
      Feeling or thought that was not true
      Ne'er made less beautiful the blue
      Unclouded heaven of her eyes.
      She is a woman: one in whom
      The springtime of her childish years
      Hath never lost its fresh perfume,
      Though knowing well that life hath room
      For many blights and many tears.
      I love her with a love as still
      As a broad river's peaceful might,
      Which, by high tower and lowly mill,
      Seems following its own wayward will,
      And yet doth ever flow aright.
      And, on its full, deep breast serene,
      Like quiet isles my duties lie;
      It flows around them and between,
      And makes them fresh and fair and green,
      Sweet homes wherein to live and die.

"My Love" is reprinted from The Little Book of American Poets: 1787-1900. Ed. Jessie B. Rittenhouse. Cambridge: Riverside Press, 1915.




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