Could I but measure my strength, by my love,
   Were I as strong, as my heart's love is true,
I would pull down the stars, from the heavens above,
   And weave them all into a garland for you.
And brighter, and better, your jewels should be
   Than any proud queen's, that e'r dwelt o'er the sea.
Ay! richer and rarer, your gems, love, should be
   Than any rare jewels that come from the sea.

I would gather the beautiful, delicate green
   From the dress of the spring--with the heavens soft blue,
And never from east land, to west land were seen
   Such wonderful robes, as I'd fashion for you.
And I'd snatch the bright rays of the sun in my hand.
   And braid you a girdle, love, strand over strand.
Ay! one by one, catch the bright rays in my hand
   And braid them, and twine them, all strand over strand.

I would gather the amber, the red and gold dyes,
   That glimmer and glow, in the autumn sunset,
And weave you a mantle; and pull from the skies
   The rainbow to trim it. Ah Love! never yet
Was any proud princess, from east to the west
   So peerlessly jeweled--so royally drest.
Never daughter of princes, in east land or west,
   So decked in rare jewels, so gorgeously drest.

And I'd make you a vail, from the rare golden haze,
   Than Indian Summer spreads over the lea.
And trim it with dew! Queens should envy and praise
   Your matchless apparel, ah darling, but see--
My strength is unequal to what I would do!
   I have only this little low cottage, for you.
Nay! I can not accomplish the thing I would do,
   And I've only this cot and a warm heart for you.


Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.

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