She Was a Phantom of Delight
(1804) by William Wordsworth
She was a phantom of delight When first she gleam’d upon my sight; A lovely apparition, sent To be a moment’s ornament; Her eyes as stars of twilight fair; Like Twilight’s, too, her dusky hair; But all things else about her drawn From May-time and the cheerful dawn; A dancing shape, an image gay, To haunt, to startle, and waylay. I saw her upon nearer view, A spirit, yet a woman too! Her household motions light and free, And steps of virgin-liberty; A countenance in which did meet Sweet records, promises as sweet; A creature not too bright or good For human nature’s daily food, For transient sorrows, simple wiles, Praise, blame, love, kisses, tears, and smiles. And now I see with eye serene The very pulse of the machine; A being breathing thoughtful breath, A traveller between life and death: The reason firm, the temperate will, Endurance, foresight, strength, and skill; A perfect woman, nobly plann’d To warn, to comfort, and command; And yet a Spirit still, and bright With something of angelic light.