85 Best Poems About Secret Love

Here are the 85 best handpicked poems about secret love categorized:

  • Poems about secret love affairs
  • Poems about secret love to a friend
  • Poems about secret love crushes
  • Poems about illicit love

So you’re looking for the best collection of secret love poems, then this collection is for you.

Keep reading and enjoy!

85 Best Poems About Secret Love (Categorized)

My Favorite Poem About Secret Love

Couple in love, mysterious silhouette of woman and man near ligh

Secrecy Protested

Fear not, dear love, that I’ll reveal
Those hours of pleasure we two steal;
No eye shall see, nor yet the sun
Descry, what thou and I have done.
No ear shall hear our love, but we
Silent as the night will be;
The god of love himself (whose dart
Did first wound mine and then thy heart),
Shall never know that we can tell
What sweets in stol’n embraces dwell.
This only means may find it out;
If, when I die, physicians doubt
What caused my death, and there to view
Of all their judgements which was true,
Rip up my heart, oh! then, I fear,
The world will see thy picture there.

Thomas Carew

Poems About Secret Love Affairs

romantic picture of a loving couple in the spring park

The Secret

What says the wind to the waving trees?
What says the wave to the river?
What means the sigh in the passing breeze?
Why do the rushes quiver?
Have you not heard the fainting cry
Of the flowers that said “Good-bye, good-bye”?

List how the gray dove moans and grieves
Under the woodland cover;
List to the drift of the falling leaves,
List to the wail of the lover.
Have you not caught the message heard
Already by wave and breeze and bird?

Come, come away to the river’s bank,
Come in the early morning;
Come when the grass with dew is dank,
There you will find the warning–
A hint in the kiss of the quickening air
Of the secret that birds and breezes bear.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

The Secretary

While with labour assiduous due pleasure I mix,
And in one day atone for the business of six,
In a little Dutch chaise, on a Saturday night,
On my left hand my Horace, a W* on my right
No memoirs to compose, and no postboy to move,
That on Sunday may hinder the softness of love;
For her, neither visits, nor parties at tea,
Nor the long-winded cant of a dull refugee:
This night and the next shall be here, shall be mine,
To good or ill fortune the third we resign:
Thus scorning the world, and superior to fate,
I drive on my car in processional state;
So with Phia through Athens Pisistratus rode,
Men thought her Minerva, and him a new god.
But why should I stories of Athens rehearse,
Where people knew love, and were partial to verse;
Since none can with justice my pleasure oppose,
In Holland half drown’d in interest and prose?
By Greece and past ages what need I be tried,
When the Hague and the present are both on my side?
And is it enough for the joys of the day
To think what Anacreon or Sappho would say?
When good Vendergoes and his provident Vrow,
As they gaze on my triumph, do freely allow
That search all the province, you’ll find no man dar is
So bless’d as the English heer Secretar’ is.

Matthew Prior

The Secret

She sought to breathe one word, but vainly;
Too many listeners were nigh;
And yet my timid glance read plainly
The language of her speaking eye.
Thy silent glades my footstep presses,
Thou fair and leaf-embosomed grove!
Conceal within thy green recesses
From mortal eye our sacred love!

Afar with strange discordant noises,
The busy day is echoing;
And ‘mid the hollow hum of voices,
I hear the heavy hammer ring.
‘Tis thus that man, with toil ne’er ending
Extorts from heaven his daily bread;
Yet oft unseen the Gods are sending
The gifts of fortune on his head!

Oh, let mankind discover never
How true love fills with bliss our hearts
They would but crush our joy forever,
For joy to them no glow imparts.
Thou ne’er wilt from the world obtain it –
‘Tis never captured save as prey;
Thou needs must strain each nerve to gain it,
E’er envy dark asserts her sway.

The hours of night and stillness loving,
It comes upon us silently –
Away with hasty footstep moving
Soon as it sees a treacherous eye.
Thou gentle stream, soft circlets weaving,
A watery barrier cast around,
And, with thy waves in anger heaving,
Guard from each foe this holy ground!

Friedrich Schiller
Portraits of lovers, romantic couple of lovers hugging, kissing, touching, eye contact at sunset, sunrise against the background of the sea, sun, clouds in fiery red, orange colors

The Secret Combination

Her heart she locked fast in her breast,
Away from molestation;
The lock was warranted the best-
A patent combination.
She knew no simple lock and key
Would serve to keep out Love and me.

But Love a clever cracksman is,
And cannot be resisted;
He likes such stubborn jobs as this,
Complex and hard and twisted,
And though we worked a many day,
At last we bore her heart away.

For Love has learned full many tricks
In his strange avocation;
He knew the figures were but six
In this, her combination;
Nor did we for a minute rest
Until we had unlocked her breast.

First, then, we turned the knob to “Sighs,”
Then back to “Words Sincerest,”
Then “Gazing Fondly in Her Eyes,”
Then “Softly Murmured ‘Dearest;’”
Then, next, “A Warm Embrace” we tried,
And at “A Kiss” the door flew wide.

Ellis Parker Butler

Love Sleep

Watch my Love in sleep:
Is she not beautiful
As a young flower at night
Weary and glad with dew?

Pale curved body
That I have kissed too much,
Warm with slumber’s flush;
Breasts like mounded snow,
Too small for children’s mouths;
Lips a red spring bud
My love will bring to bloom.

How restlessly she moves!
She, no more than a child,
Stirs like a woman troubled
With guilt of secret sins.

Twin furtive tears
Glide from the shadows,
Her eyes’ shadowed blue.
Her dreaming must be sad.

What grief to watching love
That it is impotent,
For all its reckless strength,
When the sleep gates close.

Elsa Gidlow

The Secret Rose

Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose,
Enfold me in my hour of hours; where those
Who sought thee in the Holy Sepulchre,
Or in the wine vat, dwell beyond the stir
And tumult of defeated dreams; and deep
Among pale eyelids, heavy with the sleep
Men have named beauty. Thy great leaves enfold
The ancient beards, the helms of ruby and gold
Of the crowned Magi; and the king whose eyes
Saw the Pierced Hands and Rood of elder rise
In druid vapour and make the torches dim;
Till vain frenzy awoke and he died; and him
Who met Fand walking among flaming dew
By a gray shore where the wind never blew,
And lost the world and Emer for a kiss;
And him who drove the gods out of their liss,
And till a hundred morns had flowered red,
Feasted and wept the barrows of his dead;
And the proud dreaming king who flung the crown
And sorrow away, and calling bard and clown
Dwelt among wine-stained wanderers in deep woods;
And him who sold tillage, and house, and goods,
And sought through lands and islands numberless years,
Until he found with laughter and with tears,
A woman, of so shining loveliness,
That men threshed corn at midnight by a tress,
A little stolen tress. I, too, await
The hour of thy great wind of love and hate.
When shall the stars be blown about the sky,
Like the sparks blown out of a smithy, and die?
Surely thine hour has come, thy great wind blows,
Far off, most secret, and inviolate Rose?

William Butler Yeats
love, couple kissing on night city skyline view, romantic honeym

Love’s Secret

Never seek to tell thy love,
Love that never told can be;
For the gentle wind does move
Silently, invisibly.

I told my love, I told my love,
I told her all my heart;
Trembling, cold, in ghastly fears,
Ah! she did depart!

Soon as she was gone from me,
A traveler came by,
Silently, invisibly
He took her with a sigh.

William Blake

Sonnet 154

The little Love-god lying once asleep,
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs that vow’d chaste life to keep
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire
Which many legions of true hearts had warm’d;
And so the general of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarm’d.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from Love’s fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy,
For men diseas’d; but I, my mistress’ thrall,
Came there for cure and this by that I prove,
Love’s fire heats water, water cools not love.

William Shakespeare

To His Forsaken Mistress

I do confess thou’rt smooth and fair,
And I might have gone near to love thee,
Had I not found the slightest prayer
That lips could move, had power to move thee;
But I can let thee now alone
As worthy to be loved by none.

I do confess thou’rt sweet; yet find
Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets,
Thy favours are but like the wind
That kisseth everything it meets:
And since thou canst with more than one,
Thou’rt worthy to be kiss’d by none.

The morning rose that untouch’d stands
Arm’d with her briers, how sweet she smells!
But pluck’d and strain’d through ruder hands,
Her sweets no longer with her dwells:
But scent and beauty both are gone,
And leaves fall from her, one by one.

Such fate ere long will thee betide
When thou hast handled been awhile,
With sere flowers to be thrown aside;
And I shall sigh, while some will smile,
To see thy love to every one
Hath brought thee to be loved by none.

Sir Robert Ayton
Couple Sitting on Swing Cuddling

Meeting

My Damon was the first to wake
The gentle flame that cannot die;
My Damon is the last to take
The faithful bosom’s softest sigh:
The life between is nothing worth,
O cast it from thy thought away!
Think of the day that gave it birth,
And this its sweet returning day.

Buried be all that has been done,
Or say that naught is done amiss;
For who the dangerous path can shun
In such bewildering world as this?
But love can every fault forgive,
Or with a tender look reprove;
And now let naught in memory live
But that we meet, and that we love.

George Crabbe

Ballade of the Golfer in Love

In the “foursome” some would fain
Find nepenthe for their woe;
Following through shine or rain
Where the “greens” like satin show;
But I vote such sport as “slow”
Find it rather glum and gruesome;
With a little maid I know
I would play a quiet “twosome”!

In the “threesome,” some maintain,
Lies excitement’s gayest glow,
Strife that mounts unto the brain
Like the sparkling Veuve Clicquot;
My opinion? Nay, not so!
Noon or eve or morning dewsome
With a little maid I know
I would play a quiet “twosome”!

Bays of glory some would gain
With grim “Bogey” for their foe;
(He’s a bogey who’s not slain
Save one smite with canny blow!)
Yet I hold this tame, and though
My refrain seems trite, ’tis truesome;
With a little maid I know
I would play a quiet “twosome”!

envoy

Comrades all who golfing go,
Happiness, if you would view some,
With a little maid you know,
Haste and play a quiet “twosome”!

Clinton Scollard

Meeting at Night

The gray sea and the long black land;
And the yellow half-moon large and low;
And the startled little waves that leap
In fiery ringlets from their sleep,
As I gain the cove with pushing prow,
And quench its speed i’ the slushy sand.

Then a mile of warm sea-scented beach;
Three fields to cross till a farm appears;
A tap at the pane, the quick sharp scratch
And blue spurt of a lighted match,
And a voice less loud, thro’ its joys and fears,
Than the two hearts beating each to each!

Robert Browning
Traveler couple camping in the forest and relaxing near campfire

February

They spoke of him I love
With cruel words and gay;
My lips kept silent guard
On all I could not say.

I heard, and down the street
The lonely trees in the square
Stood in the winter wind
Patient and bare.

I heard… oh voiceless trees
Under the wind, I knew
The eager terrible spring
Hidden in you.

Sara Teasdale

Hidden Love

The bird of Fortune sings when free,
But captured, soon grows dumb; and we,
To hear his fast declining powers,
Must soon forget that he is ours.
So, when I win that maid, no doubt
Love soon will seem to be half out;
Like blighted leaves drooped to the ground,
Whose roots are still untouched and sound,
So will our love’s root still be strong
When others think the leaves go wrong.
Though we may quarrel, ’twill not prove
That she and I are less in love;
The parrot, though he mocked the dove,
Died when she died, and proved his love.
When merry springtime comes, we hear
How all things into love must stir;
How birds would rather sing than eat,
How joyful sheep would rather bleat:
And daffodils nod heads of gold,
And dance in April’s sparkling cold.
So in our early love did we
Dance much and skip, and laugh with glee:
But let none think our love is flown
If, when we’re married, little’s shown:
E’en though our lips be dumb of song,
Our hearts can still be singing strong.

William Henry Davies

To a Poet

As one, the secret lover of a queen,
Watches her move within the people’s eye,
Hears their poor chatter as she passes by,
And smiles to think of what his eyes have seen;
The little room where love did ‘shut them in,’
The fragrant couch whereon they twain did lie,
And rests his hand where on his heart doth die
A bruised daffodil of last night’s sin:

So, Poet, as I read your rhyme once more
Here where a thousand eyes may read it too,
I smile your own sweet secret smile at those
Who deem the outer petals of the rose
The rose’s heart – I, who through grace of you,
Have known it for my own so long before.

Richard Le Gallienne

Morn

Morn hath a secret that she never tells:
‘Tis on her lips and in her maiden eyes –
I think it is the way to Paradise,
Or of the Fount of Youth the crystal wells.
The bee hath no such honey in her cells
Sweet as the balm that in her bosom lies,
As in her garden of the budding skies
She walks among the silver asphodels.

He that is loveless and of heart forlorn,
Let him but leave behind his haunted bed,
And set his feet toward yonder singing star,
Shall have for sweetheart this same secret morn;
She shall come running to him from afar,
And on her cool breast lay his lonely head.

Richard Le Gallienne

Poems About Secret Love to a Friend

Couple in park in autumn

I Hid My Love

I hid my love when young till I
Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light:
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place;
Where’er I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love good-bye.

I met her in the greenest dells,
Where dewdrops pearl the wood bluebells;
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,
The bee kissed and went singing by,
A sunbeam found a passage there,
A gold chain round her neck so fair;
As secret as the wild bee’s song
She lay there all the summer long.

I hid my love in field and town
Till e’en the breeze would knock me down;
The bees seemed singing ballads o’er,
The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar;
And even silence found a tongue,
To haunt me all the summer long;
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love.

John Clare

Love Song

My love, you destroy me, you rend,
You tear me apart.
You are a wild swan I have caught
And housed in my heart.

My sister, my love, I am shattered,
Broken, dismayed.
The live wings, the wild wings are beating,
They make me afraid.

Fold your wings, brood like a dove,
Be a dove I can cherish
More calmly, my dear, my tempestuous love,
Or I perish.

Elsa Gidlow

The More Loving One

Looking up at the stars, I know quite well
That, for all they care, I can go to hell,
But on earth indifference is the least
We have to dread from man or beast.

How should we like it were stars to burn
With a passion for us we could not return?
If equal affection cannot be,
Let the more loving one be me.

Admirer as I think I am
Of stars that do not give a damn,
I cannot, now I see them, say
I missed one terribly all day.

Were all stars to disappear or die,
I should learn to look at an empty sky
And feel its total dark sublime,
Though this might take me a little time.

W. H. Auden
Couple dancing together on trip

A Maiden

Oh if I were the velvet rose
Upon the red rose vine,
I’d climb to touch his window
And make his casement fine.

And if I were the little bird
That twitters on the tree,
All day I’d sing my love for him
Till he should harken me.

But since I am a maiden
I go with downcast eyes,
And he will never hear the songs
That he has turned to sighs.

And since I am a maiden
My love will never know
That I could kiss him with a mouth
More red than roses blow.

Sara Teasdale

Loneliness

This loneliness encaged in me
That has no curious heart for life,
No ribald blood, no treacherous flesh
Nor golden wickedness of song,
This loneliness that prays in me,
Is it not somewhat like a nun?

See the clasped hands, the secret eyes,
The lips pressed close for fear of love!
What if I make her drunk one day
With wine or some unholy need
Then leave the cell door open wide––
Think you she might be tempted out?

Elsa Gidlow

The Secret

The throng about her did not know,
Her nearest friend could not surmise
Whence came the brightness and the glow,
The wondrous radiance of her eyes.

One said, half enviously: “Your face
Is beautiful with gladness rare,
With that warm, generous heart of yours
Some precious secret you must share.”

Ah, true beneath the filmy lace
That rose and fell upon her breast,
Her first love-taken held its place –
From him, from him whom she loved best!

Jean Blewett
boy and girl hold hands in cafe 4

Secret Love

I hid my love when young till I
Couldn’t bear the buzzing of a fly;
I hid my love to my despite
Till I could not bear to look at light:
I dare not gaze upon her face
But left her memory in each place;
Where eer I saw a wild flower lie
I kissed and bade my love good bye.

I met her in the greenest dells
Where dewdrops pearl the wood blue bells
The lost breeze kissed her bright blue eye,
The bee kissed and went singing by,
A sunbeam found a passage there,
A gold chain round her neck so fair;
As secret as the wild bee’s song
She lay there all the summer long.

I hid my love in field and town
Till een the breeze would knock me down,
The bees seemed singing ballads oer,
The fly’s bass turned a lion’s roar;
And even silence found a tongue,
To haunt me all the summer long;
The riddle nature could not prove
Was nothing else but secret love.

John Clare

Secrets

Three secrets that never were said:
The stir of the sap in the spring,
The desire of a man to a maid,
The urge of a poet to sing.

Bliss Carman (William)

Sonnet 87

Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing,
And like enough thou know’st thy estimate,
The charter of thy worth gives thee releasing;
My bonds in thee are all determinate.
For how do I hold thee but by thy granting?
And for that riches where is my deserving?
The cause of this fair gift in me is wanting,
And so my patent back again is swerving.
Thy self thou gav’st, thy own worth then not knowing,
Or me to whom thou gav’st it, else mistaking;
So thy great gift, upon misprision growing,
Comes home again, on better judgement making.
Thus have I had thee, as a dream doth flatter,
In sleep a king, but waking no such matter.

William Shakespeare
Loves flower.

Philomel

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a grove of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring;
Everything did banish moan
Save the Nightingale alone:
She, poor bird, as all forlorn
Lean’d her breast up-till a thorn,
And there sung the dolefull’st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity.
Fie, fie, fie! now would she cry;
Tereu, Tereu! by and by;
That to hear her so complain
Scarce I could from tears refrain;
For her griefs so lively shown
Made me think upon mine own.
Ah! thought I, thou mourn’st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain:
Senseless trees they cannot hear thee,
Ruthless beasts they will not cheer thee:
King Pandion he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp’d in lead;
All thy fellow birds do sing
Careless of thy sorrowing:
Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me.

Richard Barnfield

The Libertine

A thousand martyrs I have made,
All sacrificed to my desire,
A thousand beauties have betray’d
That languish in resistless fire:
The untamed heart to hand I brought,
And fix’d the wild and wand’ring thought.

I never vow’d nor sigh’d in vain,
But both, tho’ false, were well received;
The fair are pleased to give us pain,
And what they wish is soon believed:
And tho’ I talk’d of wounds and smart,
Love’s pleasures only touch’d my heart.

Alone the glory and the spoil
I always laughing bore away;
The triumphs without pain or toil,
Without the hell the heaven of joy;
And while I thus at random rove
Despise the fools that whine for love.

Aphra Behn

Song

For her gait, if she be walking;
Be she sitting, I desire her
For her state’s sake; and admire her
For her wit if she be talking;
Gait and state and wit approve her;
For which all and each I love her.

Be she sullen, I commend her
For a modest. Be she merry,
For a kind one her prefer I.
Briefly, everything doth lend her
So much grace, and so approve her,
That for everything I love her.

William Browne
taking swing in the love

My Delight and Thy Delight

My delight and thy delight
Walking, like two angels white,
In the gardens of the night:

My desire and thy desire
Twining to a tongue of fire,
Leaping live, and laughing higher:

Thro’ the everlasting strife
In the mystery of life.

Love, from whom the world begun,
Hath the secret of the sun.

Love can tell, and love alone,
Whence the million stars were strewn,
Why each atom knows its own,
How, in spite of woe and death,
Gay is life, and sweet is breath:

This he taught us, this we knew,
Happy in his science true,
Hand in hand as we stood
‘Neath the shadows of the wood,
Heart to heart as we lay
In the dawning of the day.

Robert Bridges

Earl Mertoun’s Song

There’s a woman like a dewdrop, she ‘s so purer than the purest;
And her noble heart ‘s the noblest, yes, and her sure faith’s the surest:
And her eyes are dark and humid, like the depth on depth of lustre
Hid i’ the harebell, while her tresses, sunnier than the wild-grape cluster,
Gush in golden-tinted plenty down her neck’s rose-misted marble:
Then her voice’s music … call it the well’s bubbling, the bird’s warble!

And this woman says, ‘My days were sunless and my nights were moonless, Parch’d the pleasant April herbage, and the lark’s heart’s outbreak tuneless,
If you loved me not!’ And I who (ah, for words of flame!) adore her,
Who am mad to lay my spirit prostrate palpably before her—
I may enter at her portal soon, as now her lattice takes me,
And by noontide as by midnight make her mine, as hers she makes me!

Robert Browning

Memory

So shuts the marigold her leaves
At the departure of the sun;
So from the honeysuckle sheaves
The bee goes when the day is done;
So sits the turtle when she is but one,
And so all woe, as I since she is gone.

To some few birds kind Nature hath
Made all the summer as one day:
Which once enjoy’d, cold winter’s wrath
As night they sleeping pass away.
Those happy creatures are, that know not yet
The pain to be deprived or to forget.

I oft have heard men say there be
Some that with confidence profess
The helpful Art of Memory:
But could they teach Forgetfulness,
I’d learn; and try what further art could do
To make me love her and forget her too.

William Browne
Pregnant loving couple in the field. Sunset.

The Lost Mistress

All ‘s over, then: does truth sound bitter
As one at first believes?
Hark, ’tis the sparrows’ good-night twitter
About your cottage eaves!

And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,
I noticed that, to-day;
One day more bursts them open fully
—You know the red turns gray.

To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest?
May I take your hand in mine?
Mere friends are we,—well, friends the merest
Keep much that I resign:

For each glance of the eye so bright and black,
Though I keep with heart’s endeavour,—
Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,
Though it stay in my soul for ever!—

Yet I will but say what mere friends say,
Or only a thought stronger;
I will hold your hand but as long as all may,
Or so very little longer!

Robert Browning

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies;
And all that ‘s best of dark and bright
Meet in her aspect and her eyes:
Thus mellow’d to that tender light
Which heaven to gaudy day denies.
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress,
Or softly lightens o’er her face;
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,
So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,
The smiles that win, the tints that glow,
But tell of days in goodness spent,
A mind at peace with all below,
A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

Friendship

When we were idlers with the loitering rills,
The need of human love we little noted:
Our love was nature; and the peace that floated
On the white mist, and dwelt upon the hills,
To sweet accord subdued our wayward wills:
One soul was ours, one mind, one heart devoted,
That, wisely doting, ask’d not why it doted,
And ours the unknown joy, which knowing kills.
But now I find how dear thou wert to me;
That man is more than half of nature’s treasure,
Of that fair beauty which no eye can see,
Of that sweet music which no ear can measure;
And now the streams may sing for others’ pleasure,
The hills sleep on in their eternity.

Hartley Coleridge
Stylish couple walking and enjoying autumn weather.

Hidden Flame

I feed a flame within, which so torments me
That it both pains my heart, and yet contents me:
‘Tis such a pleasing smart, and I so love it,
That I had rather die than once remove it.

Yet he, for whom I grieve, shall never know it;
My tongue does not betray, nor my eyes show it.
Not a sigh, nor a tear, my pain discloses,
But they fall silently, like dew on roses.

Thus, to prevent my Love from being cruel,
My heart ‘s the sacrifice, as ’tis the fuel;
And while I suffer this to give him quiet,
My faith rewards my love, though he deny it.

On his eyes will I gaze, and there delight me;
While I conceal my love no frown can fright me.
To be more happy I dare not aspire,
Nor can I fall more low, mounting no higher.

John Dryden

If Doughty Deeds

If doughty deeds my lady please,
Right soon I’ll mount my steed;
And strong his arm and fast his seat,
That bears frae me the meed.
I’ll wear thy colours in my cap,
Thy picture in my heart;
And he that bends not to thine eye
Shall rue it to his smart!
Then tell me how to woo thee, Love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake nae care I’ll take,
Tho’ ne’er another trow me.

If gay attire delight thine eye
I’ll dight me in array;
I’ll tend thy chamber door all night,
And squire thee all the day.
If sweetest sounds can win thine ear,
These sounds I’ll strive to catch;
Thy voice I’ll steal to woo thysel’,
That voice that nane can match.
Then tell me how to woo thee, Love…

But if fond love thy heart can gain,
I never broke a vow;
Nae maiden lays her skaith to me,
I never loved but you.
For you alone I ride the ring,
For you I wear the blue;
For you alone I strive to sing,
O tell me how to woo!
Then tell me how to woo thee, Love;
O tell me how to woo thee!
For thy dear sake nae care I’ll take
Tho’ ne’er another trow me.

Robert Cunninghame-Graham of Gartmore

Proud Word You Never Spoke

Proud word you never spoke, but you will speak
Four not exempt from pride some future day.
Resting on one white hand a warm wet cheek,
Over my open volume you will say,
‘This man loved me’—then rise and trip away.

Walter Savage Landor
Smiling young man giving piggyback ride to his girlfriend outdoors in city street.

The Triumph

See the Chariot at hand here of Love,
Wherein my Lady rideth!
Each that draws is a swan or a dove,
And well the car Love guideth.
As she goes, all hearts do duty
Unto her beauty;
And enamour’d do wish, so they might
But enjoy such a sight,
That they still were to run by her side,
Through swords, through seas, whither she would ride.

Do but look on her eyes, they do light
All that Love’s world compriseth!
Do but look on her hair, it is bright
As Love’s star when it riseth!
Do but mark, her forehead’s smoother
Than words that soothe her;
And from her arch’d brows such a grace
Sheds itself through the face,
As alone there triumphs to the life
All the gain, all the good, of the elements’ strife.

Have you seen but a bright lily grow
Before rude hands have touch’d it?
Have you mark’d but the fall of the snow
Before the soil hath smutch’d it?
Have you felt the wool of beaver,
Or swan’s down ever?
Or have smelt o’ the bud o’ the brier,
Or the nard in the fire?
Or have tasted the bag of the bee?
O so white, O so soft, O so sweet is she!

Ben Jonson

Sweetest of Maidens, Oh, How Can I Tell

Sweetest of maidens, oh, how can I tell
The love that transfigures the whole earth to me?
The longing that causes my bosom to swell,
When I dream of a life all devoted to thee?

Louisa May Alcott

When, Dearest, I but Think of Thee

When, dearest, I but think of thee,
Methinks all things that lovely be
Are present, and my soul delighted:
For beauties that from worth arise
Are like the grace of deities,
Still present with us, tho’ unsighted.

Thus while I sit and sigh the day
With all his borrow’d lights away,
Till night’s black wings do overtake me,
Thinking on thee, thy beauties then,
As sudden lights do sleepy men,
So they by their bright rays awake me.

Thus absence dies, and dying proves
No absence can subsist with loves
That do partake of fair perfection:
Since in the darkest night they may
By love’s quick motion find a way
To see each other by reflection.

The waving sea can with each flood
Bathe some high promont that hath stood
Far from the main up in the river:
O think not then but love can do
As much! for that ‘s an ocean too,
Which flows not every day, but ever!

Sir John Suckling
A joyful woman smiling and having fun in autumn park, pulls the hand of her boyfriend and looks at camera.

The Rose’s Secret

When down the west the new moon slipped,
A curved canoe that dipped and tipped,
When from the rose the dewdrop dripped,
As if it shed its heart’s blood slow;
As softly silent as a star
I climbed a lattice that I know,
A window lattice, held ajar
By one slim hand as white as snow:
The hand of her who set me here,
A rose, to bloom from year to year.

I, who have heard the bird of June
Sing all night long beneath the moon;
I, who have heard the zephyr croon
Soft music ‘mid spring’s avenues,
Heard then a sweeter sound than these,
Among the shadows and the dews
A heart that beat like any bee’s,
Sweet with a name and I know whose:
Her heart that, leaning, pressed on me,
A rose, she never looked to see.

O star and moon! O wind and bird!
Ye hearkened, too, but never heard
The secret sweet, the whispered word
I heard, when by her lips his name
Was murmured. Then she saw me there!
But that I heard was I to blame?
Whom in the darkness of her hair
She thrust since I had heard the same:
Condemned within its deeps to lie,
A rose, imprisoned till I die.

Madison Julius Cawein

Secrets

Three secrets that never were said:
The stir of the sap in the spring,
The desire of a man to a maid,
The urge of a poet to sing.

Bliss Carman (William)

That the Eye Bewrayeth Alway the Secret Affections of the Heart

And if an eye may save or slay,
And strike more deep than weapon long;
And if an eye by subtle play,
May move one more than any tongue;
How can ye say that I do wrong,
Thus to suspect without desert?
For the eye is traitor to the heart.
To frame all well, I am content
That it were done unweetingly;
But yet I say, (who will assent,)
To do but well, do nothing why
That men should deem the contrary;
For it is said by men expert;
That the eye is traitor of the heart.
But yet, alas! that look, all soul,
That I do claim of right to have,
Should not, methink —— go seek the school,
To please all folk, for who can crave
Friendlier thing than heart witsave
By look to give in friendly part;
For the eye is traitor of the heart.
And my suspect is without blame;
For as ye say, not only I
But other mo have deem’d the same;
Then is it not jealousy,
But subtle look of reckless eye
Did range too far, to make me smart;
For the eye is traitor of the heart.
But I your Friend shall take it thus,
Since you will so, as stroke of chance;
And leave further for to discuss,
Whether the stroke did stick or glance?
But ’scuse who can let him advance
Dissembled looks, but for my part,
My eye must still betray my heart.
And of this grief ye shall be quit,
In helping Truth steadfast to go.
The time is long that Truth doth sit
Feeble and weak, and suff’reth woe;
Cherish him well, continue so;
Let him not fro’ your heart astart;
Then fears not the eye to shew the heart.

Sir Thomas Wyatt
Young couple in a boat

We That Were Friends

We that were friends to-night have found
A sudden fear, a secret flame:
I am on fire with that soft sound
You make, in uttering my name.

Forgive a young and boastful man
Whom dreams delight and passions please,
And love me as great women can
Who have no children at their knees.

James Elroy Flecker

Under the Mistletoe

She stood beneath the mistletoe
That hung above the door,
Quite conscious of the sprig above,
Revered by maids of yore.
A timid longing filled her heart;
Her pulses throbbed with heat;
He sprang to where the fair girl stood.
“May I, just one, my sweet?”
He asked his love, who tossed her head,
“Just do it, if, you dare!” she said.

He sat before the fireplace
Down at the club that night.
“She loves me not,” he hotly said,
“Therefore she did but right!”
She sat alone within her room,
And with her finger-tips
She held his picture to her heart,
Then pressed it to her lips.
“My loved one!” sobbed she, “if you cared
You surely would have, would have, dared.”

George Francis Shults

The Friendly Meeting

In spreading mantle to my chin conceald,
I trod the rocky path, so steep and grey,
Then to the wintry plain I bent my way
Uneasily, to flight my bosom steel’d.
But sudden was the newborn day reveal’d:
A maiden came, in heavenly bright array,
Like the fair creatures of the poet’s lay
In realms of song. My yearning heart was heal’d.
Yet turn’d I thence, till she had onward pass’d,
While closer still the folds to draw I tried,
As though with heat self-kindled to grow warm;
But follow’d her. She stood. The die was cast!
No more within my mantle could I hide;
I threw it off, she lay within mine arm.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Photo of smiling brunette woman in dress holding bouquet with fl

Jenifer’s Love

Small is my secret–let it pass–
Small in your life the share I had,
Who sat beside you in the class,
Awed by the bright superior lad:
Whom yet with hot and eager face
I prompted when he missed his place.

For you the call came swift and soon:
But sometimes in your holidays
You meet me trudging home at noon
To dinner through the dusty ways,
And recognized, and with a nod
Passed on, but never guessed–thank God!

Truly our ways were separate.
I bent myself to hoe and drill,

Yea, with an honest man to mate,
Fulfilling God Almighty’s will;
And bore him children. But my prayers
Were yours–and, only after, theirs.

While you–still loftier, more remote,
You sprang from stair to stair of fame,
And you’ve a riband on your coat,
And you’ve a title to your name;
But have you yet a star to shine
Above your bed, as I o’er mine?

Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

Guess, Guess

I love a maid, a mystic maid,
Whose form no eyes but mine can see;
She comes in light, she comes in shade,
And beautiful in both is she.
Her shape in dreams I oft behold,
And oft she whispers in my ear
Such words as when to others told,
Awake the sigh, or wring the tear;
Then guess, guess, who she,
The lady of my love, may be.

I find the lustre of her brow,
Come o’er me in my darkest ways;
And feel as if her voice, even now,
Were echoing far off my lays.
There is no scene of joy or woe
But she doth gild with influence bright;
And shed o’er all so rich a glow
As makes even tears seem full of light:
Then guess, guess, who she,
The lady of my love, may be.

Thomas Moore

The Meeting

I’m happy, I’m happy,
I saw my love to-day.
He came along the crowded street,
By all the ladies gay,
And oh, he smiled and spoke to me
Before he went his way.
My throat was tight with happiness,
I couldn’t say a word,
My heart was beating fast, so fast
I’m sure he must have heard;
And when he passed, I trembled like
A little frightened bird.
I wish I were the flower-girl
Who waits beside the way,
I’d give my flowers all to him
And see him every day;
I wish I were the flower-girl
Who waits beside the way.

Sara Teasdale
Young smiling couple enjoying fall in the park.

Roundel

If he could know my songs are all for him,
At silver dawn or in the evening glow,
Would he not smile and think it but a whim,
If he could know?

Or would his heart rejoice and overflow,
As happy brooks that break their icy rim
When April’s horns along the hillsides blow?

I may not speak till Eros’ torch is dim,
The god is bitter and will have it so;
And yet to-night our fate would seem less grim
If he could know.

Sara Teasdale

The Look

Strephon kissed me in the spring,
Robin in the fall,
But Colin only looked at me
And never kissed at all.

Strephon’s kiss was lost in jest,
Robin’s lost in play,
But the kiss in Colin’s eyes
Haunts me night and day.

Sara Teasdale

Hidden Love

I hid the love within my heart,
And lit the laughter in my eyes,
That when we meet he may not know
My love that never dies.

But sometimes when he dreams at night
Of fragrant forests green and dim,
It may be that my love crept out
And brought the dream to him.

And sometimes when his heart is sick
And suddenly grows well again,
It may be that my love was there
To free his life of pain.

Sara Teasdale

Did You Never Know

Did you never know, long ago, how much you loved me,
That your love would never lessen and never go?
You were young then, proud and fresh-hearted,
You were too young to know.

Fate is a wind, and red leaves fly before it
Far apart, far away in the gusty time of year,
Seldom we meet now, but when I hear you speaking,
I know your secret, my dear, my dear.

Sara Teasdale

Poems About Secret Love Crushes

Cute smiling Caucasian brunette sitting on coast near river

Love’s Fancy

After the pangs of a desperate Lover,
When a day and night I have sighed all in vain,
Ah what a pleasure it is to discover,
In her eyes pity who causes my pain!

When with unkindness our Love at a stand is,
And both have punish’d our selves with the pain,
Ah what a pleasure the touch of her hand is!
Ah what a pleasure to touch it again!

When the denial comes fainter and fainter,
And her eyes gives what her tongue does deny,
Ah what a trembling I feel when I venture,
Ah what a trembling does usher my Joy!

When, with a Sigh, she accords me the blessing
And her eyes twinkle ’twixt pleasure and pain,
Ah, what a Joy ’tis beyond all expressing!
Ah, what a Joy to hear, Shall we again!

John Dryden

The Lover

You do not know the wonder I will pour on your name—
It will burst like thunder with all heaven for a frame!
I will raise it as a flame that the wind blows under,
I will cast myself asunder—to my shame, to my blame!
I will make a fame, a wonder of your name.

Paul Tanaquil

Lovers

Whate’er our joy compelled, men’s praise and blame fall hollow,
A voice upon the winds that drown it as they blow:
So fair a vision led, our thought was all to follow;
So strong a passion urged, our will was all to go.

Horace Holley
An attractive blonde caucasian woman lies in the arms of a man

Love Untold

I cannot tell
How much I love you.
A haunting legend frightens me.

The men who dared for Helen
Knew sacredly
What I have learned and fear:
The swan that sings its soul
Must die, my dear,
Must die.

I cannot tell
How much I love you.
But—

There was a Man
Once, long ago,
Who loved you so divinely,
That he hung upon a cross
And died—
Died shamefully—for you.

My darling, would you understand?

I cannot tell
How much I love you, sweet-my-dear,
Unless I die—
Unless I die.

Earl Marlatt

To One Unknown

I pass you by in the public street,
O beautiful one, O wind of gladness!
You are a call to me, a promise of mystery,
Of delirium and aching madness.

I pass you by in the public street—
You are a challenge, O entrancer!
I am a boy, afraid, and I pass you by,
Though my heart is breaking to answer!

I pass you by—but the memory of you
Is as a breath from some strange world crying,
As a scent of oranges in the nostrils of the sick,
As music in the ears of the dying.

Oscar Williams

The Lover

I go through wet spring woods alone,
Through sweet green woods with heart of stone,
My weary foot upon the grass
Falls heavy as I pass.
The cuckoo from the distance cries,
The lark a pilgrim in the skies;
But all the pleasant spring is drear.
I want you, dear!

I pass the summer meadows by,
The autumn poppies bloom and die;
I speak alone so bitterly
For no voice answers me.
‘O lovers parting by the gate,
O robin singing to your mate,
Plead you well, for she will hear
‘I love you, dear!’

I crouch alone, unsatisfied,
Mourning by winter’s fireside.
O Fate, what evil wind you blow.
Must this be so?
No southern breezes come to bless,
So conscious of their emptiness
My lonely arms I spread in woe,
I want you so.

Dora Sigerson Shorter
Woman in white dress run on sunny day

My Heart, Like Hyacinth

Oh, Grief is not so near to tears
As I!

Hurting me more than chord-pain—
The thought of you,
Quiet, alone,
Lovely as a watered reed,
Resting in the straightness
Of your cool white bed.

For I, storm-shattered and sick,
Lie here flushed, hard-breathing.

Oh, Grief is not so near to tears
As I!

Mark Turbyfill

Words About Love

I cannot tell you what it is waits beyond love;
Nor what it means, the still hour after.

I can think only of a wide field of poppies afire
On driven stems, dashed in the gale.

I cannot touch you now.
I lie beside you chill. My heart has waned cold.
A high white mountain has breathed upon my heart.

Let us gather out of our thoughts a poppy cloak
To draw about this strangeness.

I cannot tell you what it is waits beyond love;
Nor what it means, the still hour after.

Mark Turbyfill

Poems About Illicit Love

Coffee couple. Good morning. Sexy couple.

The Sick Rose

O Rose, thou art sick:
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy;
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

William Blake

This Is Not Love

This is not love: we cannot call it love.
Love would make me aware of infinite things,
Drive me down the spirit’s vast abyss
And through the narrow fastnesses of pain.
This is not love. Yet it holds loveliness
Beyond mere pleasure. Peace and passion both
Grow from the kiss with which I paint drab hours.
It is not love: love is for the gods
And our more godlike moments. Yet when stars
Withhold their splendor, why should we not light
Candles to warm with kindly mortal flames
The all-enfolding, cold, immortal night?

Elsa Gidlow

A Well-Worn Story

In April, in April,
My one love came along,
And I ran the slope of my high hill
To follow a thread of song.

His eyes were hard as porphyry
With looking on cruel lands;
His voice went slipping over me
Like terrible silver hands.

Together we trod the secret lane
And walked the muttering town.
I wore my heart like a wet, red stain
On the breast of a velvet gown.

In April, in April,
My love went whistling by,
And I stumbled here to my high hill
Along the way of a lie.

Now what should I do in this place
But sit and count the chimes,
And splash cold water on my face
And spoil a page with rhymes.

Dorothy Parker
Young couple sitting on the roof.

The Grey Thread

My life is a grey thread,
A thin grey stretched out thread,
And when I trace its course, I moan:
How dull! How dead!

But I have gay beads.
A pale one to begin,
A blue one for my painted dreams,
And one for sin,
Gold with coiled marks,
Like a snake’s skin.

For love an odd bead
With a deep purple glow;
A green bead for a secret thing
That few shall know;
And yellow for my thoughts
That melt like snow.

A red bead for my strength,
And crimson for my hate;
Silver for the songs I sing
When I am desolate;
And white for my laughter
That mocks dull fate.

My life is a grey thread
Stretching through Time’s day;
But I have slipped gay beads on it
To hide the grey.

Elsa Gidlow

Secret Love

He gloomily sat by the wall,
As gaily she danced with them all.
Her laughter’s light spell
On every one fell;
His heartstrings were near unto rending,
But this there was none comprehending.

She fled from the house, when at eve
He came there to take his last leave.
To hide her she crept,
She wept and she wept;
Her life-hope was shattered past mending,
But this there was none comprehending.

Long years dragged but heavily o’er,
And then he came back there once more.

Her lot was the best,
In peace and at rest;
Her thought was of him at life’s ending,
But this there was none comprehending.

Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson

I Cannot Live With You

I cannot live with You –
It would be Life –
And Life is over there –
Behind the Shelf

The Sexton keeps the Key to –
Putting up
Our Life – His Porcelain –
Like a Cup –

Discarded of the Housewife –
Quaint – or Broke –
A newer Sevres pleases –
Old Ones crack –

I could not die – with You –
For One must wait
To shut the Other’s Gaze down –
You – could not –

And I – could I stand by
And see You – freeze –
Without my Right of Frost –
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise – with You –
Because Your Face
Would put out Jesus’ –
That New Grace

Glow plain – and foreign
On my homesick Eye –
Except that You than He
Shone closer by –

They’d judge Us – How –
For You – served Heaven – You know,
Or sought to –
I could not –

Because You saturated Sight –
And I had no more Eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise

And were You lost, I would be –
Though My Name
Rang loudest
On the Heavenly fame –

And were You – saved –
And I – condemned to be
Where You were not –
That self – were Hell to Me –

So We must meet apart –
You there – I – here –
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer –
And that White Sustenance –
Despair –

Emily Dickinson
young people embracing and laughing on date.

Eros

They put their finger on their lip,
The Powers above:
The seas their islands clip,
The moons in ocean dip,
They love, but name not love.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wild Nights—Wild Nights!

Wild Nights – Wild Nights!
Were I with thee
Wild Nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile – the winds –
To a heart in port –
Done with the compass –
Done with the chart!

Rowing in Eden –
Ah, the sea!
Might I moor – Tonight –
In thee!

Emily Dickinson

The Reconcilement

Come, let us now resolve at last
To live and love in quiet;
We’ll tie the knot so very fast
That Time shall ne’er untie it.

The truest joys they seldom prove
Who free from quarrels live:
‘Tis the most tender part of love
Each other to forgive.

When least I seem’d concern’d, I took
No pleasure nor no rest;
And when I feign’d an angry look,
Alas! I loved you best.

Own but the same to me—you’ll find
How blest will be our fate.
O to be happy—to be kind—
Sure never is too late!

John Sheffield
man and woman sharing problems secrets on a cold winter day at home

To Manon, on His Fortune in Loving Her

I did not choose thee, dearest. It was Love
That made the choice, not I. Mine eyes were blind
As a rude shepherd’s who to some lone grove
His offering brings and cares not at what shrine
He bends his knee. The gifts alone were mine;
The rest was Love’s. He took me by the hand,
And fired the sacrifice, and poured the wine,
And spoke the words I might not understand.
I was unwise in all but the dear chance
Which was my fortune, and the blind desire
Which led my foolish steps to Love’s abode,
And youth’s sublime unreason’d prescience
Which raised an altar and inscribed in fire
Its dedication To the Unknown God.

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt

The Road of Make-Believe

I

She sits upon a rock along the stream
That heard the whisper of her first Desire,
Washing the faded garment of her Dream,
Which she had often carried to the Dyer—
The Dream of her self-centred lyric fire.
And in the flowing, scarlet wounds of Twilight,
Expiring on Aurora’s drooping wings
Beneath the secret scimitar of Night,
She dyes again her garment, while she sings
Of new-born love, though to self-love she clings.

II

He seeks the path of glory in the noon
Of self-intoxication, dreaming still
Of power,—wondering why the sun and moon
Are not yoked to the chariot of his will.
His soul, a clinging vine, his mind, an ill,
He beats against the peaks of earth-bound dreams,
Subsisting on the thistles of his heart,
But ever seeking, in the fitful gleams
Of his own fire, self-admiration’s mart
To mend his horn or whet his venomed dart.

III

They walk together in the golden vast
Of vision-haunted, soul-alluring sands,
Beholding the illusions of the past
Among the ruins of deserted lands:—
Together, although neither understands
The groping purpose of the other; and yet,
While in their hearts the gods of conflict nod,
They gloze and smile, dissembling their regret:
Love, on the Road of Make-Believe, they prod,
He going to the dogs and she, to God.

Ameen Rihani

Willie and Helen

‘Wharefore sou’d ye talk o’ love,
Unless it be to pain us?
Wharefore sou’d ye talk o’ love
Whan ye say the sea maun twain us?’

‘It ‘s no because my love is light,
Nor for your angry deddy;
It ‘s a’ to buy ye pearlins bright,
An’ to busk ye like a leddy.’

‘O Willy, I can caird an’ spin,
Se ne’er can want for cleedin’;
An’ gin I hae my Willy’s heart,
I hae a’ the pearls I’m heedin’.

‘Will it be time to praise this cheek
Whan years an’ tears has blench’d it?
Will it be time to talk o’ love
Whan cauld an’ care has quench’d it?’

He’s laid ae han’ about her waist—
The ither ‘s held to heaven;
An’ his luik was like the luik o’ man
Wha’s heart in twa is riven.

Hew Ainslie
Young caucasian travel couple lie  in hammock in  bamboo eco house, nature and mountains on background. Morning in tropical resort on Bai island

Phillida and Coridon

In the merry month of May,
In a morn by break of day,
Forth I walk’d by the wood-side
When as May was in his pride:
There I spièd all alone
Phillida and Coridon.
Much ado there was, God wot!
He would love and she would not.
She said, Never man was true;
He said, None was false to you.
He said, He had loved her long;
She said, Love should have no wrong.
Coridon would kiss her then;
She said, Maids must kiss no men
Till they did for good and all;
Then she made the shepherd call
All the heavens to witness truth
Never loved a truer youth.
Thus with many a pretty oath,
Yea and nay, and faith and troth,
Such as silly shepherds use
When they will not Love abuse,
Love, which had been long deluded,
Was with kisses sweet concluded;
And Phillida, with garlands gay,
Was made the Lady of the May.

Nicholas Breton

Sonnet 133

Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
For that deep wound it gives my friend and me!
Is’t not enough to torture me alone,
But slave to slavery my sweet’st friend must be?
Me from myself thy cruel eye hath taken,
And my next self thou harder hast engross’d:
Of him, myself, and thee I am forsaken;
A torment thrice three-fold thus to be cross’d:
Prison my heart in thy steel bosom’s ward,
But then my friend’s heart let my poor heart bail;
Whoe’er keeps me, let my heart be his guard;
Thou canst not then use rigour in my jail:
And yet thou wilt; for I, being pent in thee,
Perforce am thine, and all that is in me.

William Shakespeare

With How Sad Steps, O Moon, Thou Climb’St the Skies

With how sad steps ô Moone thou clim’st the skyes,
How silently, and with how meane a face,
What may it be, that even in heavenly place,
That busie Archer his sharpe Arrowes tryes?
Sure if that long with love acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feelst of Lovers case,
I reade within thy lookes thy languisht grace.
To mee that feele the like, my state discries.

Sir Philip Sidney
Loving man is hiding red roses behind his back bringing beautiful bouquet for his date in restaurant. Flowers, romantic relationship and dating concept.

Porphyria’s Lover

The rain set early in to-night,
The sullen wind was soon awake,
It tore the elm-tops down for spite,
And did its worst to vex the lake:
I listen’d with heart fit to break.
When glided in Porphyria; straight
She shut the cold out and the storm,
And kneel’d and made the cheerless grate
Blaze up, and all the cottage warm;
Which done, she rose, and from her form
Withdrew the dripping cloak and shawl,
And laid her soil’d gloves by, untied
Her hat and let the damp hair fall,
And, last, she sat down by my side
And call’d me. When no voice replied,
She put my arm about her waist,
And made her smooth white shoulder bare,
And all her yellow hair displaced,
And, stooping, made my cheek lie there,
And spread, o’er all, her yellow hair,
Murmuring how she loved me—she
Too weak, for all her heart’s endeavour,
To set its struggling passion free
From pride, and vainer ties dissever,
And give herself to me for ever.
But passion sometimes would prevail,
Nor could to-night’s gay feast restrain
A sudden thought of one so pale
For love of her, and all in vain:
So, she was come through wind and rain.
Be sure I look’d up at her eyes
Happy and proud; at last I knew
Porphyria worshipp’d me; surprise
Made my heart swell, and still it grew
While I debated what to do.
That moment she was mine, mine, fair,
Perfectly pure and good: I found
A thing to do, and all her hair
In one long yellow string I wound
Three times her little throat around,
And strangled her. No pain felt she;
I am quite sure she felt no pain.
As a shut bud that holds a bee,
I warily oped her lids: again
Laugh’d the blue eyes without a stain.
And I untighten’d next the tress
About her neck; her cheek once more
Blush’d bright beneath my burning kiss:
I propp’d her head up as before,
Only, this time my shoulder bore
Her head, which droops upon it still:
The smiling rosy little head,
So glad it has its utmost will,
That all it scorn’d at once is fled,
And I, its love, am gain’d instead!
Porphyria’s love: she guess’d not how
Her darling one wish would be heard.
And thus we sit together now,
And all night long we have not stirr’d,
And yet God has not said a word!

Robert Browning

Sonnet 03

Sonnets From the Portuguese

Unlike are we, unlike, O princely Heart!
Unlike our uses and our destinies.
Our ministering two angels look surprise
On one another, as they strike athwart
Their wings in passing. Thou, bethink thee, art
A guest for queens to social pageantries,
With gages from a hundred brighter eyes
Than tears even can make mine, to play thy part
Of chief musician. What hast thou to do
With looking from the lattice-lights at me—
A poor, tired, wandering singer, singing through
The dark, and leaning up a cypress tree?
The chrism is on thine head—on mine the dew—
And Death must dig the level where these agree.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

The Outlaw of Loch Lene

O many a day have I made good ale in the glen,
That came not of stream or malt, like the brewing of men:
My bed was the ground; my roof, the green-wood above;
And the wealth that I sought, one far kind glance from my Love.

Alas! on that night when the horses I drove from the field,
That I was not near from terror my angel to shield!
She stretch’d forth her arms; her mantle she flung to the wind,
And swam o’er Loch Lene, her outlaw’d lover to find.

O would that a freezing sleet-wing’d tempest did sweep,
And I and my love were alone, far off on the deep;
I’d ask not a ship, or a bark, or a pinnace, to save—
With her hand round my waist, I’d fear not the wind or the wave.

‘Tis down by the lake where the wild tree fringes its sides,
The maid of my heart, my fair one of Heaven resides:
I think, as at eve she wanders its mazes among,
The birds go to sleep by the sweet wild twist of her song.

Jeremiah Joseph Callanan
Portrait of young  woman with radiant clean skin lying down amid

To Coelia

When, Coelia, must my old day set,
And my young morning rise
In beams of joy so bright as yet
Ne’er bless’d a lover’s eyes?
My state is more advanced than when
I first attempted thee:
I sued to be a servant then,
But now to be made free.

I’ve served my time faithful and true,
Expecting to be placed
In happy freedom, as my due,
To all the joys thou hast:
Ill husbandry in love is such
A scandal to love’s power,
We ought not to misspend so much
As one poor short-lived hour.

Yet think not, sweet! I’m weary grown,
That I pretend such haste;
Since none to surfeit e’er was known
Before he had a taste:
My infant love could humbly wait
When, young, it scarce knew how
To plead; but grown to man’s estate,
He is impatient now.

Charles Cotton

Love and Thought

Two well-assorted travellers use
The highway, Eros and the Muse.
From the twins is nothing hidden,
To the pair is nought forbidden;
Hand in hand the comrades go
Every nook of Nature through:
Each for other they were born,
Each can other best adorn;
They know one only mortal grief
Past all balsam or relief;
When, by false companions crossed,
The pilgrims have each other lost.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To ——

One word is too often profaned
For me to profane it;
One feeling too falsely disdain’d
For thee to disdain it;
One hope is too like despair
For prudence to smother;
And pity from thee more dear
Than that from another.

I can give not what men call love:
But wilt thou accept not
The worship the heart lifts above
And the heavens reject not,
The desire of the moth for the star,
Of the night for the morrow,
The devotion to something afar
From the sphere of our sorrow?

Percy Bysshe Shelley
A beautiful photo of a couple siiting in field on sunset, on car

Her Secret

That love’s dull smart distressed my heart
He shrewdly learnt to see,
But that I was in love with a dead man
Never suspected he.

He searched for the trace of a pictured face,
He watched each missive come,
And a note that seemed like a love-line
Made him look frozen and glum.

He dogged my feet to the city street,
He followed me to the sea,
But not to the neighbouring churchyard
Did he dream of following me.

Thomas Hardy

Galahad in the Castle of the Maidens

(To the maiden with the hidden face in Abbey’s painting)

The other maidens raised their eyes to him
Who stumbled in before them when the fight
Had left him victor, with a victor’s right.
I think his eyes with quick hot tears grew dim;
He scarcely saw her swaying white and slim,
And trembling slightly, dreaming of his might,
Nor knew he touched her hand, as strangely light
As a wan wraith’s beside a river’s rim.
The other maidens raised their eyes to see
And only she has hid her face away,
And yet I ween she loved him more than they,
And very fairly fashioned was her face.
Yet for Love’s shame and sweet humility,
She dared not meet him with their queen-like grace.

Sara Teasdale