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Maurine and Other Poems

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PART I. I sat and sewed, and sang some tender tune,Oh, beauteous was that morn in early June!Mellow with sunlight, and with blossoms fair:The climbing rose‑tree grew about me there,And checked with shade the sunny porticoWhere, morns like this, I came to read, or sew.I heard the gate click, and a firm quick treadUpon the walk. No need to turn my head;I would mistake, and doubt my own voice sounding,Before his step upon the gravel bounding.In an unstudied attitude of grace,He stretched his comely form; and from his faceHe tossed the dark, damp curls; and at my knees,With his broad hat he fanned the lazy breeze,And turned his head, and lifted his large eyes,Of that strange hue we see in ocean dyes,And call it blue sometimes, and sometimes greenAnd save in poet eyes, not elsewhere seen. "Lest I should meet with my fair lady's scorning,For calling quite so early in the morning,I've brought a passport that can never fail,"He said, and, laughing, laid the morning mailUpon my lap. "I'm welcome? so I thought!I'll figure by the letters that I broughtHow glad you are to see me. Only one?And that one from a lady? I'm undone!That, lightly skimmed, you'll think me such a bore,And wonder why I did not bring you four.It's ever thus: a woman cannot getSo many letters that she will not fretO'er one that did not come."                                          "I'll prove you wrong,"I answered gayly, "here upon the spot!This little letter, precious if not long,Is just the one, of all you might have brought,To please me. You have heard me speak, I'm sure,Of Helen Trevor: she writes here to sayShe's coming out to see me; and will stayTill Autumn, maybe. She is, like her note,Petite and dainty, tender, loving, pure.You'd know her by a letter that she wrote,For a sweet tinted thing. 'Tis always so:—Letters all blots, though finely written, showA slovenly person. Letters stiff and whiteBespeak a nature honest, plain, upright.And tissuey, tinted, perfumed notes, like this,Tell of a creature formed to pet and kiss."My listener heard me with a slow, odd smile;Stretched in abandon at my feet, the while, He fanned me idly with his broad‑brimmed hat."Then all young ladies must be formed for that!"He laughed, and said.                                "Their letters read, and look,As like as twenty copies of one book.They're written in a dainty, spider scrawl,To 'darling, precious Kate,' or 'Fan,' or 'Moll.'The 'dearest, sweetest' friend they ever had.They say they 'want to see you, oh, so bad!'Vow they'll 'forget you, never, _never_, oh!'And then they tell about a splendid beau—A lovely hat—a charming dress, and sendA little scrap of this to every friend.And then to close, for lack of something better,They beg you'll 'read and burn this horrid letter.'"He watched me, smiling. He was prone to vexAnd hector me with flings upon my sex....