A poem by Wilfred S. Skeats

I know a maiden, scarce thirteen,
A sweet and gentle maid,
With dignified and graceful mien,
And manner calm and staid.
But I've seen her, when none but her parents are nigh,
When her spirits are flowing exuberantly,
With her feet tossing high, while her arms in accordance,
Are wildly upraised in the Fling or the Sword-dance.

I know a maid whose hazel eye
Outshines the light gazelle's,
And hid beneath its brilliancy,
A pensive shadow dwells.
But I've seen it illumed with a mischievous light,
Which the sparkles displayed in the meteor's flight
Cannot meet, as her laughter reverberates round,
And merrily echo responds to the sound.

I know a maid whose accents mild,
And words of sober sense,
Declare her woman more than child,
Yet mark her innocence.
But I've heard her repeating the quip or the joke,
While merriment shone in her eyes as she spoke,
As, with skill that is seldom excelled on the stage,
She worthily mimicked the actor or sage.

I know a maid, a loving maid,
Whose quiet, gentle ways,
In look, in voice, in act displayed,
Must bring her love and praise.
But I know that when nimbly she's tripping the dance,
When her eyes sparkle bright with a mischievous glance,
When her sallies of innocent wit shall outpour,
She will capture the hearts that were callous before.

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