Wild Garden

by Bliss Carman


 

IMORTELLE


 

My glorious enchantress,
She went in silken hose,
With swaying hip and curving lip
And little tilted nose,
As full of fragrant fire
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As any English rose.

Her voice across the morning,
Like olden balladry
Or magic notes from woodland throats,
It laid a spell on me

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As wondrous as the west wind
And haunting as the sea.

She might have walked with Chaucer
A-jesting all the way,
Her figure trim a joy to him,

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Her beauty like the day,
With that unfailing spirit
Which nothing can dismay.

Her heart was full of caring,
Her eyes were touched with dream.

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In happy birth, in noble worth,
I thought that she did seem
As fair as Kentish roses
And rich as Devon cream.

I loved her airy carriage

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Her bearing clean and proud,
When glad and fond she looked beyond
The plaudits of the crowd,
Or when in prayer or sorrow
Her comely head was bowed.
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I loved her eerie piping
Of measures without name.
Wild as a faun at rosy dawn,
Out of the crowd she came
To breathe upon old altars
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A fresh untroubled flame.

I loved her lyric ardor
Her chosen words and dress,
Her dryad’s face, her yielding grace,
Her glowing waywardness,

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Her deep adoring passion
No careless eye would guess.

And all the while as lovely
As early daffodils,
When woodland Spring comes blossoming

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Among the Western hills,
And from her trailing garments
A mystic glory spills.

O sorceress of raptures
Beyond the dream of art,

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Be still our guide to walk beside
And choose the better part,—
Thou lyric of enchantment,
Thou flower of Nature’s heart!