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The Lover
by Coventry Patmore (1823 - 1896)

e meets, by heavenly chance express,
     The destined maid; some hidden hand
Unveils to him that loveliness
     Which others cannot understand.
His merits in her presence grow,
     To match the promise in her eyes,
And round her happy footsteps blow
     The authentic airs of paradise.
For joy of her he cannot sleep;
     Her beauty haunts him all the night;
It melts his heart, it makes him weep
     For wonder, worship, and delight.
Oh, paradox of love, he longs,
     Most humble when he most aspires,
To suffer scorn and cruel wrongs
     From her he honors and desires.
Her graces make him rich, and ask
     No guerdon; this imperial style
Affronts him; he disdains to bask
     The pensioner of her priceless smile.
He prays for some hard thing to do,
     Some work of fame and labor immense,
To stretch the languid bulk and thew
     Of love's fresh-born magnipotence.
No smallest boon were bought too dear,
     Though bartered for his love-sick life;
Yet trusts he, with unbdoubted cheer,
     To vanquish heaven, and call her wife.
He notes how queens of sweetness still
     Neglect their crowns, and stoop to mate;
How, self-consigned with lavish will,
     They ask but love proportionate;
How swift pursuit by small degree,
     Love's tactic, works like miracle;
How valor, clothed in courtesies,
     Brings down the haughtiest citadel;
And therefore, though he merits not
     To kiss the braid upon her skirt,
His hope, discouraged ne'er a jot,
     Out-soars all possible desert.

Read more about Coventry Patmore at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

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