Verse > Anthologies > Francis T. Palgrave, ed. > The Golden Treasury
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Francis T. Palgrave, ed. (1824–1897). The Golden Treasury.  1875.
 
W. Wordsworth
 
CCXLIX. To the Highland Girl of Inversnaid
 
SWEET Highland Girl, a very shower 
Of beauty is thy earthly dower! 
Twice seven consenting years have shed 
Their utmost bounty on thy head: 
And these gray rocks, this household lawn,         5
These trees—a veil just half withdrawn; 
This fall of water, that doth make 
A murmur near the silent lake; 
This little bay, a quiet road 
That holds in shelter thy abode;—  10
In truth together ye do seem 
Like something fashion'd in a dream— 
Such forms as from their covert peep 
When earthly cares are laid asleep! 
But, O fair Creature! in the light  15
Of 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! 
I neither know thee nor thy peers,  20
And yet my eyes are fill'd with tears. 
  
With earnest feeling I shall pray 
For thee when I am far away; 
For never saw I mien or face 
In which more plainly I could trace  25
Benignity and home-bred sense 
Ripening in perfect innocence. 
Here scatter'd, like a random seed, 
Remote from men, thou dost not need 
The embarrass'd look of shy distress,  30
And maidenly shamefacèdness. 
Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear 
The freedom of a mountaineer; 
A face with gladness overspread; 
Soft smiles, by human kindness bred;  35
And seemliness complete, that sways 
Thy courtesies, about thee plays; 
With no restraint, but such as springs 
From quick and eager visitings 
Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach  40
Of thy few words of English speech— 
A bondage sweetly brook'd, a strife 
That gives thy gestures grace and life! 
So have I, not unmoved in mind, 
Seen birds of tempest-loving kind  45
Thus beating up against the wind. 
  
What hand but would a garland cull 
For thee, who art so beautiful? 
O happy pleasure! here to dwell 
Beside thee in some heathy dell;  50
Adopt your homely ways, and dress, 
A shepherd, thou a shepherdess! 
But I could frame a wish for thee 
More like a grave reality: 
Thou art to me but as a wave  55
Of the wild sea; and I would have 
Some 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,  60
Thy father—anything to thee. 
  
Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace 
Hath led me to this lonely place. 
Joy have I had; and going hence 
I bear away my recompense.  65
In spots like these it is we prize 
Our 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,  70
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  75
As I do now the cabin small, 
The lake, the bay, the waterfall, 
And thee, the spirit of them all! 
 
 
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