Currer Bell – The Wife’s Will

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!