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Coventry Patmore

The Kiss

'I saw you take his kiss!' ''Tis true.'
'O, modesty!' ' 'Twas strictly kept:
He thought me asleep; at least I knew
He thought I thought he thought I slept.'

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Ma Belle

Farewell, dear Heart! Since needs it must I go,
Dear Heart, farewell!
Fain would I stay, but that I love thee so.
One kiss, ma Belle!
What hope lies in the Land we do not know,
Who, Dear, can tell?
But thee I love, and let thy 'plaint be, ‘Lo,
He loved me well!’

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Unthrift

Ah, wasteful woman, she who may
On her sweet self set her own price,
Knowing men cannot choose but pay,
How she has cheapen'd paradise;
How given for nought her priceless gift,
How spoil'd the bread and spill'd the wine,
Which, spent with due, respective thrift,
Had made brutes men, and men divine.

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Magna Est Veritas

Here, in this little Bay,
Full of tumultuous life and great repose,
Where, twice a day,
The purposeless, gay ocean comes and goes,
Under high cliffs, and far from the huge town,
I sit me down.
For want of me the world's course will not fail:
When all its work is done, the lie shall rot;
The truth is great, and shall prevail,
When none cares whether it prevail or not.

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Venus And Death

With fetters gold her captivated feet
Lay, sunny sweet;
In that palm was the poppy, Sleep; in this
The apple, Bliss;
Against the mild side of his Spouse and Mother
One small God throve, and in't, meseem'd, another.
By these a Death-in-Life did foully breathe
Out of a face that was one grate of teeth.
Lift, O kind Angels, lift her eyelids loth,
Lest he devour her and her Godlets both!

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The Year

The crocus, while the days are dark,
Unfolds its saffron sheen;
At April's touch the crudest bark
Discovers gems of green.

Then sleep the seasons, full of might;
While slowly swells the pod
And rounds the peach, and in the night
The mushroom bursts the sod.

The winter falls; the frozen rut
Is bound with silver bars;
The snowdrift heaps against the hut,
And night is pierced with stars.

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The Spirit's Depths

Not in the crisis of events
Of compass'd hopes, or fears fulfill'd,
Or acts of gravest consequence,
Are life's delight and depth reveal'd.
The day of days was not the day;
That went before, or was postponed;
The night Death took our lamp away
Was not the night on which we groan'd.
I drew my bride, beneath the moon,
Across my threshold; happy hour!
But, ah, the walk that afternoon
We saw the water-flags in flower!

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A Retrospect

I, trusting that the truly sweet
Would still be sweetly found the true,
Sang, darkling, taught by heavenly heat,
Songs which were wiser than I knew.
To the unintelligible dream
That melted like a gliding star,
I said: ‘We part to meet, fair Gleam!
You are eternal, for you are.’
To Love's strange riddle, fiery writ
In flesh and spirit of all create,
‘Mocker,’ I said, ‘of mortal wit,
Me you shall not mock. I can wait.’

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The Revelation

An idle poet, here and there,
Looks around him; but, for all the rest,
The world, unfathomably fair,
Is duller than a witling's jest.
Love wakes men, once a lifetime each;
They lift their heavy lids, and look;
And, lo, what one sweet page can teach,
They read with joy, then shut the book.
And some give thanks, and some blaspheme
And most forget; but, either way,
That and the Child's unheeded dream
Is all the light of all their day.

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Semele

No praise to me!
My joy 'twas to be nothing but the glass
Thro' which the general boon of Heaven should pass,
To focus upon thee.
Nor is't thy blame
Thou first should'st glow, and, after, fade i' the flame.
It takes more might
Than God has given thee, Dear, so long to feel delight.
Shall I, alas,
Reproach thee with thy change and my regret?
Blind fumblers that we be
About the portals of felicity!
The wind of words would scatter, tears would wash
Quite out the little heat
Beneath the silent and chill-seeming ash,
Perchance, still slumbering sweet.

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