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Paul Laurence Dunbar

Passion and Love

A maiden wept and, as a comforter,

Came one who cried, "I love thee," and he seized

Her in his arms and kissed her with hot breath,

That dried the tears upon her flaming cheeks.

While evermore his boldly blazing eye

Burned into hers; but she uncomforted

Shrank from his arms and only wept the more.

Then one came and gazed mutely in her face

With wide and wistful eyes; but still aloof

He held himself; as with a reverent fear,

As one who knows some sacred presence nigh.

And as she wept he mingled tear with tear,

That cheered her soul like dew a dusty flower,—

Until she smiled, approached, and touched his hand!