John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887)
"From Poetical Works, 1882. On a small scale, a kind of American Christopher North. Despite his own conviction that he had 'written one of the finest sonnets in the language,' he was no sonneteer. His most enduring poem will probably prove to be the Praed-like lyric, 'Wouldn't you like to know?'" (Sharp)
A maiden, with a garland on her head,
Sat in her bower between two lovers: one
Wore such a wreath as hers; the other none.
But him, in merry wise, she garlanded
With that she wore; then, gaily, took instead
The other's wreath and wore it as her own;
Whereat both smiled, each deeming she had shown
Himself the favourite. Though she nothing said
Concerning this by any spoken word,
Yet by her act, methinks, the maid preferred
The lover she discrowned. A friendly thing
Or whimsical--no more--the gift she gave,
(A queen might do as much by any slave),
But he whose crown she wore was her heart's king.
"With my body I thee worship"
That I adore thee, my most gracious queen,
More in my spirit than my body's sense
Of thine, were such incredible pretence
As I would scorn to utter. Thou hast seen
When eyes and lips, responsive to the heart,
Were bent in worship of thy lips and eyes,
Until, O bliss! each pleasure-pulsing part
Hath found its fellow in Love's sweet emprise;
Each answering other in such eager wise
As they would never cease to kiss and cling--
Ah! then meseemed amid the storm of sighs
I heard thy voice exclaiming, "O my King!
So may my soul be ever true to thine,
As with thy body thou dost worship mine!"
(Last two poems from American Sonnets)