Self-Study

A presence both by night and day,
That made my life seem just begun,
Yet scarce a presence, rather say
The warning aureole of one.

And yet I felt it everywhere;
Walked I the woodland's aisles along,
It seemed to brush me with its hair;
Bathed I, I heard a mermaid's song.

How sweet it was! A buttercup
Could hold for me a day's delight,
A bird could lift my fancy up
To ether free from cloud or blight.

Who was the nymph? Nay, I will see,
Methought, and I will know her near;
If such, divined, her charm can be,
Seen and possessed, how triply dear!

So every magic art I tried,
And spells as numberless as sand,
Until, one evening, by my side
I saw her glowing fulness stand.

I turned to clasp her, but 'Farewell,'
Parting she sighed, 'we meet no more;
Not by my hand the curtain fell
That leaves you conscious, wise, and poor.

'Since you nave found me out, I go;
Another lover I must find,
Content his happiness to know,
Nor strive its secret to unwind.

by James Russell Lowell

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