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<  Theme 8: Love and Courtship (xxii)  >

George Gordon, Lord Byron

Modest Woman, painting by Charles Perugini c1880

 < To a Beautiful Quaker >

Hours of Idleness (1807, 19)

Sweet girl! though only once we met, 
That meeting I shall ne'er forget; 
And though we ne'er may meet again, 
Remembrance will thy form retain. 
I would not say, “I love,” but still 
My senses struggle with my will: 
In vain, to drive thee from my breast, 
My thoughts are more and more represt; 
In vain I check the rising sighs, 
Another to the last replies: 
Perhaps this is not love, but yet 
Our meeting I can ne'er forget. 

What though we never silence broke, 
Our eyes a sweeter language spoke. 
The tongue in flattering falsehood deals, 
And tells a tale it never feels; 
Deceit the guilty lips impart, 
And hush the mandates of the heart; 
But soul's interpreters, the eyes, 
Spurn such restraint and scorn disguise. 
As thus our glances oft conversed, 
And all our bosoms felt, rehearsed, 
No spirit, from within, reproved us, 
Say rather, “twas the spirit moved us.”

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