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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 true­so tried­so dear,

My heart's own chosen­indeed is near;

And check me not­this hour divine

Belongs to me­is fully mine.

'Tis thy own hearth thou sitt'st beside,

After long absence­wandering 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 truly­I love thee !

Yet smile­for 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 this­I 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, William­hear 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,

I­thy true wife­will duly share.

Passive, at home, I will not pine;

Thy toils­thy perils, shall be mine;

Grant this­and be hereafter paid

By a warm heart's devoted aid:

'Tis granted­with that yielding kiss,

Entered my soul unmingled bliss.

Thanks, William­thanks ! thy love has joy,

Pure­undefiled 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 bale­to go with thee !

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