To a Highland Girl

(At Inversneyde, upon Loch Lomond)

Original Text: 
William Wordsworth, Poems in Two Volumes (1807). See The Manuscript of William Wordsworth's Poems, in Two Volumes (1807): A Facsimile (London: British Library, 1984). bib MASS (Massey College Library, Toronto).
1  Sweet Highland Girl, a very shower
2Of beauty is thy earthly dower!
3Twice seven consenting years have shed
4Their utmost bounty on thy head:
5And these grey rocks; that household lawn;
6Those trees, a veil just half withdrawn;
7This fall of water that doth make
8A murmur near the silent lake;
9This little bay; a quiet road
10That holds in shelter thy Abode--
11In truth together do ye seem
12Like something fashioned in a dream;
13Such Forms as from their covert peep
14When earthly cares are laid asleep!
15But, O fair Creature! in the light
16Of common day, so heavenly bright,
17I bless Thee, Vision as thou art,
18I bless thee with a human heart;
19God shield thee to thy latest years!
20Thee, neither know I, nor thy peers;
21And yet my eyes are filled with tears.
22      With earnest feeling I shall pray
23For thee when I am far away:
24For never saw I mien, or face,
25In which more plainly I could trace
26Benignity and home-bred sense
27Ripening in perfect innocence.
28Here scattered, like a random seed,
29Remote from men, Thou dost not need
30The embarrassed look of shy distress,
31And maidenly shamefacedness:
32Thou wear'st upon thy forehead clear
33The freedom of a Mountaineer:
34A face with gladness overspread!
35Soft smiles, by human kindness bred!
36And seemliness complete, that sways
37Thy courtesies, about thee plays;
38With no restraint, but such as springs
39From quick and eager visitings
40Of thoughts that lie beyond the reach
41Of thy few words of English speech:
42A bondage sweetly brooked, a strife
43That gives thy gestures grace and life!
44So have I, not unmoved in mind,
45Seen birds of tempest-loving kind--
46Thus beating up against the wind.
47      What hand but would a garland cull
48For thee who art so beautiful?
49O happy pleasure! here to dwell
50Beside thee in some heathy dell;
51Adopt your homely ways, and dress,
52A Shepherd, thou a Shepherdess!
53But I could frame a wish for thee
54More like a grave reality:
55Thou art to me but as a wave
56Of the wild sea; and I would have
57Some claim upon thee, if I could,
58Though but of common neighbourhood.
59What joy to hear thee, and to see!
60Thy elder Brother I would be,
61Thy Father--anything to thee!
62      Now thanks to Heaven! that of its grace
63Hath led me to this lonely place.
64Joy have I had; and going hence
65I bear away my recompense.
66In spots like these it is we prize
67Our Memory, feel that she hath eyes:
68Then, why should I be loth to stir?
69I feel this place was made for her;
70To give new pleasure like the past,
71Continued long as life shall last.
72Nor am I loth, though pleased at heart,
73Sweet Highland Girl! from thee to part;
74For I, methinks, till I grow old,
75As fair before me shall behold,
76As I do now, the cabin small,
77The lake, the bay, the waterfall;
78And thee, the spirit of them all!
RPO poem Editors: 
J. D. Robins
RPO Edition: 
2RP 2.52.