Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, SEVENTEEN, by AMELIA B. WELBY

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SEVENTEEN, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I have a fair and gentle friend
Last Line: I feel not free to tell.
Alternate Author Name(s): Coppuck, Amelia B.
Subject(s): Teenagers

I HAVE a fair and gentle friend,
Whose heart is pure, I ween.
As ever was a maiden's heart
At joyous seventeen;
She dwells among us like a star,
That, from its bower of bliss,
Looks down, yet gathers not a stain
From aught it sees in this.

I do not mean that flattery
Has never reach'd her ear;
I only say its syren song
Has no effect on her;
For she is all simplicity,
A creature soft and mild --
Though on the eve of womanhood,
In heart a very child.

And yet, within the misty depths
Of her dark dreamy eyes,
A shadowy something, like deep thought,
In tender sadness lies;
For though her glance still shines as bright
As in her childish years,
Its wildness and its lustre, now,
Are soften'd down by tears: --

Tears, that steal not from hidden springs
Of sorrow and regret,
For none but lovely feelings
In her gentle breast have met.
For every tear that gems her eye,
From her young bosom flows
Like dew-drops from a golden star,
Or perfume from a rose.

For e'en in life's delicious spring,
We oft have memories
That throw around our sunny hearts
A transient cloud of sighs;
For a wondrous change within the heart
At that sweet time is wrought,
When on the heart is softly laid
A spell of deeper thought.

And she has reach'd that lovely time,
That sweet poetic age,
When to the eye each floweret's leaf
Seems like a glowing page;
For a beauty and a mystery
About the heart are thrown,
When childhood's merry laughter yields
To girlhood's softer tone.

I do not know if round her heart
Love yet hath thrown his wing,
I rather think she's like myself,
An April-hearted thing;
I only know that she is fair,
And loves me passing well;
But who this gentle maiden is
I feel not free to tell.

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