Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
Were I but His Own Wife
 
Ellen Mary Patrick Downing (1828–69)
 
 
WERE I but his own wife, to guard and to guide him,
  ’T is little of sorrow should fall on my dear;
I ’d chant my low love-verses, stealing beside him,
  So faint and so tender his heart would but hear;
I ’d pull the wild blossoms from valley and highland,        5
  And there at his feet I would lay them all down;
I ’d sing him the songs of our poor stricken island,
  Till her heart was on fire with a love like my own.
 
There ’s a rose by his dwelling,—I ’d tend the lone treasure,
  That he might have flowers when the summer would come;        10
There ’s a harp in his hall,—I would wake its sweet measure,
  For he must have music to brighten his home.
Were I but his own wife, to guide and to guard him,
  ’T is little of sorrow should fall on my dear;
For every kind glance my whole life would award him,        15
  In sickness I ’d soothe and in sadness I ’d cheer.
 
My heart is a fount welling upward forever!
  When I think of my true-love, by night or by day,
That heart keeps its faith like a fast-flowing river
  Which gushes forever and sings on its way.        20
I have thoughts full of peace for his soul to repose in,
  Were I but his own wife, to win and to woo;
O sweet, if the night of misfortune were closing,
  To rise like the morning star, darling, for you!
 

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