Ballad. "I love thee, sweet Mary, but love thee in fear"

A poem by John Clare

I love thee, sweet Mary, but love thee in fear;
Were I but the morning breeze, healthy and airy,
As thou goest a walking I'd breathe in thine ear,
And whisper and sigh how I love thee, my Mary!

I wish but to touch thee, but wish it in vain;
Wert thou but a streamlet a winding so clearly,
And I little globules of soft dropping rain,
How fond would I press thy white bosom, my Mary!

I would steal a kiss, but I dare not presume;
Wert thou but a rose in thy garden, sweet fairy,
And I a bold bee for to rifle its bloom,
A whole summer's day would I kiss thee, my Mary!!

I long to be with thee, but cannot tell how;
Wert thou but the elder that grows by thy dairy,
And I the blest woodbine to twine on the bough,
I'd embrace thee and cling to thee ever, my Mary!

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