Sybil

By Julia Ward Howe

Your head is wild with books, Sybil,
     But your heart is good and kind—
I feel a new contentment near you,
     A pleasure of the mind.

Glad should I be to sit beside you,
     And let long hours glide by,
Reading, through all your sweet narrations,
     The language of your eye.

Since the maternal saint I worshipped
     Did look and love her last,
No woman o’er my wayward spirit
     Such gentle spell has cast.

Oh! tell me of your varied fortunes,
     For you know not, from your face
Looks out strange sadness, lit with rapture,
     And melancholy grace.

You are a gem, whose native brilliance
     Could never wholly reign,
An opal, whose prismatic fire
     A white cloud doth restrain.

And thus, the mood to which you move me
     Is never perfect, quite,
‘Tis pity, wonderment, and pleasure,
     Opacity and light.

Bear me then in your presence, Sybil,
     And leave your hand in mine,
For, though human be my nature,
     You’ve made it half divine. 

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