Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MARY LEE, by JOHN CLARE



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MARY LEE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I have traced the valleys fair
Last Line: Surely not, mary lee!
Subject(s): Love


I HAVE traced the valleys fair
In May morning's dewy air,
My bonny Mary Lee!
Wilt thou deign the wreath to wear,
Gathered all for thee?
They are not flowers of Pride,
For they graced the dingle-side;
Yet they grew in Heaven's smile,
My gentle Mary Lee!
Can they fear thy frowns the while
Though offerèd by me?

Here's the lily of the vale,
That perfumed the morning gale,
My fairy Mary Lee!
All so spotless and so pale,
Like thine own purity.
And might I make it known,
'T is an emblem of my own
Love,—if I dare so name
My esteem for thee.
Surely flowers can bear no blame,
My bonny Mary Lee.

Here's the violet's modest blue,
That 'neath hawthorns hides from view,
My gentle Mary Lee,
Would show whose heart is true,
While it thinks of thee.
While they choose each lowly spot,
The sun disdains them not;
I' m as lowly too, indeed,
My charming Mary Lee;
So I 've brought the flowers to plead,
And win a smile from thee.

Here 's a wild rose just in bud;
Spring's beauty in its hood,
My bonny Mary Lee!
'T is the first in all the wood
I could find for thee.
Though a blush is scarcely seen,
Yet it hides its worth within,
Like my love; for I 've no power,
My angel Mary Lee,
To speak unless the flower
Can make excuse for me.

Though they deck no princely halls,
In bouquets for glittering balls,
My gentle Mary Lee,
Richer hues than painted walls
Will make them dear to thee;
For the blue and laughing sky
Spreads a grander canopy
Than all wealth's golden skill,
My charming Mary Lee!
Love would make them dearer still,
That offers them to thee.

My wreathèd flowers are few,
Yet no fairer drink the dew,
My bonny Mary Lee!
They may seem as trifles too,—
Not, I hope, to thee;
Some may boast a richer prize
Under pride and wealth's disguise;
None a fonder offering bore
Than this of mine to thee;
And can true love wish for more?
Surely not, Mary Lee!





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