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Poems Every Child Should Know by  Mary E. Burt




"She Was a Phantom of Delight" (by William Wordsworth, 1770-1850) is included here because it is a picture of woman as she should be, not made dainty by finery, but by fine ideals—

"And not too good

For human nature's daily food."

She was a Phantom of delight

When first she gleamed 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 planned,

To warn, to comfort, and command;

And yet a Spirit still, and bright,

With something of angelic light.


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