A Pastoral.

A poem by John Clare

Surely Lucy love returns,
Though her meaning's not reveal'd;
Surely love her bosom burns,
Which her coyness keeps conceal'd:
Else what means that flushing cheek,
When with her I chance to be?
And those looks, that almost speak
A secret warmth of love for me?

Would she, where she valued not,
Give such proofs of sweet esteem?
Think what flowers for me she's got--
What can this but fondness seem?
When, to try their pleasing powers,
Swains for her cull every grove,--
When she takes my meaner flowers,
What can guide the choice but love?

Was not love seen yesternight,
When two sheep had rambled out?
Who but Lucy set them right?
The token told, without a doubt.
When others stare, she turns and frowns;
When I but glance, a smile I see;
When others talk, she calls them clowns;
But never says such words to me.

And when, with swains to love inclin'd,
To bear her milk I often go;
Though they beg first, she turns behind,
And lingers till I ask her too:
O'er stepping-stones that cross the brooks,
Who mind such trifles plainly see,
In vain the shepherds prop their hooks,
She always gives her hand to me.

To-day, while all were standing by,
She wish'd for roses from the bower;
The man too wish'd was in her eye,
Though others flew to get the flower:
And striving all they could to please,
When prick'd with thorns they left the tree,
She never seem'd concern'd at these,
But only turn'd to caution me.

To-day she careless view'd the bark
Where many a swain had cut her name,
'Till whisper'd which was Colin's mark,
Her cheek was instant in a flame:
In blushing beckons love did call,
And courage seiz'd the chance the while;
And though I kiss'd her 'fore them all,
Her worst rebukings wore a smile.

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