Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ELIDORE, by FREDERICK GODDARD TUCKERMAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

ELIDORE, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Her beauty came to his distrustful heart
Last Line: To illume a heart, that had its grace, its power, misdeemed.
Subject(s): Beauty; Distrust

Her beauty came to his distrustful heart
As comes a bud to flower in bracing air;
For its perception had been dulled to sleep
By disappointment, doubt, and worldly wear,
The fear of wrong, and coldness everywhere:
Yet, while unguessed, an impulse seemed to part
From that pale presence, calling him to keep
A watch on Beauty's beamings, powers, and tones:
From blossoming dawn down to the half-filled flower,
Or bird, or buried book: all that Life owns
Or Nature gives, grew holier in that power.

An influence still entreating, day by day,
Yet still unlike the tricks of female guile,
Not forward, but to touch and reconcile
Through childlike warmth and plain sincerity;
And teaching him by such innocence of display
That light of outward loveliness to see.
Scarce felt at first, with Time's increasing worth
The faint eyes deepened and the lips awoke,
Till from a clouded brow all beauty broke,
And bade him own a wonder of the earth,
A graceful mind most gracefully inclosed:
A woman fair and young, but softly free
From the world's wisdom and hypocrisy,
Or restless spite or curiosity:
Gentle and glad, yet armed in constancy,
With breathings heavenward and a faith composed.

Such is the Beauty dowered not to deceive;
Such was the Beauty that dispersed his fear
And smiled, and said, "O world-sick heart believe!"
Doubting, he saw all doubts and bodings grim,
Like night dissolving, break and disappear,
While Joy and Trust relumed his vision dim:
Such Joy as clears the woodlost wanderer's sight,
Who, pushing darkly on with body bowed,
Through trunks and brush discerns a peering light,
And sees it shine, a star of safety soon:
Or like a stormy moonrise, when the moon
Grows from some blackened ridge of thundercloud,
And slow perfects herself in wondering eyes
That brighten with her round: so sweet surprise
Brightened his look as that strange beauty beamed
To illume a heart, that had its grace, its power, misdeemed.

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