Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Genevieve
By Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834)
 
ALL thoughts, all passions, all delights,
Whatever stirs this mortal frame,
All are but ministers of Love,
  And feed his sacred flame.
 
Oft in my waking dreams do I        5
Live o’er again that happy hour,
When midway on the mount I lay,
  Beside the ruined tower.
 
The moonshine, stealing o’er the scene,
Had blended with the lights of eve;        10
And she was there, my hope, my joy,
  My own dear Genevieve!
 
She leaned against the armèd man,
The statue of the armèd knight;
She stood and listened to my lay,        15
  Amid the lingering light.
 
Few sorrows hath she of her own,
My hope, my joy, my Genevieve!
She loves me best, whene’er I sing
  The songs that make her grieve.        20
 
I played a soft and doleful air,
I sang an old and moving story,—
An old rude song, that suited well
  That ruin wild and hoary.
 
She listened with a flitting blush,        25
With downcast eyes and modest grace;
For well she knew I could not choose
  But gaze upon her face.
 
I told her of the Knight that wore
Upon his shield a burning brand;        30
And that for ten long years he wooed
  The Lady of the Land.
 
I told her how he pined; and ah!
The deep, the low, the pleading tone
With which I sang another’s love        35
  Interpreted my own.
 
She listened with a fitting blush,
With downcast eyes, and modest grace;
And she forgave me that I gazed
  Too fondly on her face.        40
 
But when I told the cruel scorn
That crazed that bold and lovely Knight,
And that he crossed the mountain-woods,
  Nor rested day nor night;
 
That sometimes from the savage den,        45
And sometimes from the darksome shade,
And sometimes starting up at once
  In green and sunny glade,
 
There came and looked him in the face
An angel beautiful and bright;        50
And that he knew it was a Fiend,
  This miserable Knight!
 
And that, unknowing what he did,
He leaped amid a murderous band,
And saved from outrage worse than death        55
  The Lady of the Land;
 
And how she wept, and clasped his knees;
And how she tended him in vain,
And ever strove to expiate
  The scorn that crazed his brain;        60
 
And that she nursed him in a cave;
And how his madness went away,
When on the yellow forest leaves
  A dying man he lay;—
 
His dying words,—but when I reached        65
That tenderest strain of all the ditty,
My faltering voice and pausing harp
  Disturbed her soul with pity.
 
All impulses of soul and sense
Had thrilled my guileless Genevieve;        70
The music and the doleful tale,
  The rich and balmy eve;
 
And hopes, and fears that kindle hope,
An undistinguishable throng,
And gentle wishes, long subdued,        75
  Subdued and cherished long.
 
She wept with pity and delight,
She blushed with love and virgin shame;
And like the murmur of a dream,
  I heard her breathe my name.        80
 
Her bosom heaved: she stept aside,
As conscious of my look she stept;
Then suddenly, with timorous eye
  She fled to me and wept.
 
She half enclosed me with her arms,        85
She pressed me with a meek embrace;
And, bending back her head, looked up,
  And gazed upon my face.
 
’Twas partly love, and partly fear,
And partly ’twas a bashful art,        90
That I might rather feel, than see,
  The swelling of her heart.
 
I calmed her fears, and she was calm,
And told her love with virgin pride;
And so I won my Genevieve,        95
  My bright and beauteous bride.
 
 
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