by Francis Thompson
Can I forget her cruelty
Who, brown miracle, gave you me?
Or with unmoisted eyes think on
The proud surrender overgone,
(Lowlihead in haughty dress),
Of the tender tyranness?
And ere thou for my joy was given,
How rough the road to that blest heaven!
With what pangs I fore-expiated
Thy cold outlawry from her head;
How was I trampled and brought low,
Because her virgin neck was so;
How thralled beneath the jealous state
She stood at point to abdicate;
How sacrificed, before to me
She sacrificed her pride and thee;
How did she, struggling to abase
Herself to do me strange, sweet grace,
Enforce unwitting me to share
Her throes and abjectness with her;
Thence heightening that hour when her lover
Her grace, with trembling, should discover,
And in adoring trouble be
Humbled at her humility!
And with what pitilessness was I
After slain, to pacify
The uneasy manes of her shame,
Her haunting blushes!--Mine the blame:
What fair injustice did I rue
For what I--did not tempt her to?
Nor aught the judging maid might win
Me to assoil from HER sweet sin.
But nought were extreme punishment
For that beyond-divine content,
When my with-thee-first-giddied eyes
Stooped ere their due on Paradise!
O hour of consternating bliss
When I heavened me in thy kiss;
Thy softness (daring overmuch!)
Profan-ed with my licensed touch;
Worshipped, with tears, on happy knee,
Her doubt, her trust, her shyness free,
Her timorous audacity!
Last updated January 14, 2019