Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. I. Of Home: of Friendship
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume I. Of Home: of Friendship.  1904.
 
Poems of Home: IV. Youth
To a Highland Girl
William Wordsworth (1770–1850)
 
At Inversnaid, upon Loch Lomond

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These trees,—a veil just half withdrawn,—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 fashioned 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 filled 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 scattered like a random seed,
Remote from men, thou dost not need
The embarrassed 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 brooked, 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 neighborhood.
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 loath 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 loath, 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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