Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell/The Wife's Will

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Sit still—a word—a breath may break
(As light airs stir a sleeping lake,)
The glassy calm that soothes my woes,
The sweet, the deep, the full repose.
O leave me not! for ever be
Thus, more than life itself to me!

Yes, close beside thee, let me kneel—­
Give me thy hand that I may feel
The friend so true—­so tried—­so dear,
My heart's own chosen—­indeed is near;
And check me not—­this hour divine
Belongs to me—­is fully mine.

'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside,
After long absence—­wandering wide;
'Tis thy own wife reads in thine eyes,
A promise clear of stormless skies,
For faith and true love light the rays,
Which shine responsive to her gaze.

Aye,—­well that single tear may fall;
Ten thousand might mine eyes recall,
Which from their lids, ran blinding fast,
In hours of grief, yet scarcely past,
Well may'st thou speak of love to me;
For, oh! most truly—­I love thee!

Yet smile­—for we are happy now.
Whence, then, that sadness on thy brow?
What say'st thou? "We must once again,
Ere long, be severed by the main?"
I knew not this—­I deemed no more,
Thy step would err from Britain's shore.

"Duty commands?" 'Tis true­—'tis just;
Thy slightest word I wholly trust,
Nor by request, nor faintest sigh
Would I, to turn thy purpose, try;
But, William—­hear my solemn vow—­
Hear and confirm!—­with thee I go.

"Distance and suffering," did'st thou say?
"Danger by night, and toil by day?"
Oh, idle words, and vain are these;
Hear me! I cross with thee the seas.
Such risk as thou must meet and dare,
I—­thy true wife—­will duly share.

Passive, at home, I will not pine;
Thy toils­—thy perils, shall be mine;
Grant this—­and be hereafter paid
By a warm heart's devoted aid:
'Tis granted—­with that yielding kiss,
Entered my soul unmingled bliss.

Thanks, William—­thanks! thy love has joy,
Pure—­undefiled with base alloy;
'Tis not a passion, false and blind,
Inspires, enchains, absorbs my mind;
Worthy, I feel, art thou to be
Loved with my perfect energy.

This evening, now, shall sweetly flow,
Lit by our clear fire's happy glow;
And parting's peace-embittering fear,
Is warned, our hearts to come not near;
For fate admits my soul's decree,
In bliss or bale—to go with thee!