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The Wife's Will by Charlotte Bronte

 

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.

Ay, - 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 mayst 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 sayst thou? 'We muse 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,' didst 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!

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