Tales eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 328 pages of information about Tales.
And she thy pleasure in thy looks shall seek —
How she shall dress, and whether she may speak.” 
   A sober smile returned the Youth, and said,
“Can I cause fear, who am myself afraid?”
   Sybil, meantime, sat thoughtful in her room,
And often wonder’d—­“Will the creature come? 
Nothing shall tempt, shall force me to bestow
My hand upon him,—­yet I wish to know.” 
   The door unclosed, and she beheld her sire
Lead in the Youth, then hasten to retire;
“Daughter, my friend—­my daughter, friend,” he cried,
And gave a meaning look, and stepp’d aside: 
That look contained a mingled threat and prayer,
“Do take him, child,—­offend him if you dare.” 
   The couple gazed—­were silent, and the maid
Look’d in his face, to make the man afraid;
The man, unmoved, upon the maiden cast
A steady view—­so salutation pass’d: 
But in this instant Sybil’s eye had seen
The tall fair person, and the still staid mien;
The glow that temp’rance o’er the cheek had spread,
Where the soft down half veil’d the purest red;
And the serene deportment that proclaim’d
A heart unspotted, and a life unblamed: 
But then with these she saw attire too plain,
The pale brown coat, though worn without a stain;
The formal air, and something of the pride
That indicates the wealth it seems to hide;
And looks that were not, she conceived, exempt
From a proud pity, or a sly contempt. 
   Josiah’s eyes had their employment too,
Engaged and soften’d by so bright a view;
A fair and meaning face, an eye of fire,
That check’d the bold, and made the free retire: 
But then with these he marked the studied dress
And lofty air, that scorn or pride express;
With that insidious look, that seem’d to hide
In an affected smile the scorn and pride;
And if his mind the virgin’s meaning caught,
He saw a foe with treacherous purpose fraught —
Captive the heart to take, and to reject it, caught. 
   Silent they sat—­thought Sybil, that he seeks
Something, no doubt; I wonder if he speaks: 
Scarcely she wonder’d, when these accents fell
Slow in her ear—­“Fair maiden, art thou well?”
“Art thou physician?” she replied; “my hand,
My pulse, at least, shall be at thy command.” 
   She said—­and saw, surprised, Josiah kneel,
And gave his lips the offer’d pulse to feel;
The rosy colour rising in her cheek,
Seem’d that surprise unmix’d with wrath to speak;
Then sternness she assumed, and—­“Doctor, tell;
Thy words cannot alarm me—­am I well?”
   “Thou art,” said he; “and yet thy dress so light,
I do conceive, some danger must excite:” 
   “In whom?” said Sybil, with a look demure: 
   “In more,” said he, “than I expect to cure; —
I, in thy light luxuriant robe behold
Want and excess, abounding and yet cold;
Here needed, there display’d, in many a wanton fold;
Both health and beauty, learned authors show,
Project Gutenberg
Tales from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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