Her Definition

    I lingered through the night to break of day,
    Nor once did sleep extend a wing to me,
    Intently busied with a vast array
    Of epithets that should outfigure thee.

    Full-featured terms — all fitless — hastened by,
    And this sole speech remained: “That maiden mine!” —
    Debarred from due description then did I
    Perceive the indefinite phrase could yet define.

    As common chests encasing wares of price
    Are borne with tenderness through halls of state,
    For what they cover, so the poor device
    Of homely wording I could tolerate,
    Knowing its unadornment held as freight
    The sweetest image outside Paradise.

    W. P. V.,
    Summer 1866.

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