All that love asks

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

      “All that I ask,” says Love, “is just to stand
      And gaze, unchided, deep in thy dear eyes;
      For in their depths lies largest Paradise.
   Yet, if perchance one pressure of thy hand
      Be granted me, then joy I thought complete
         Were still more sweet.

      “All that I ask,” says Love, “all that I ask,
      Is just thy hand-clasp. Could I brush thy cheek
      As zephyrs brush a rose leaf, words are weak
   To tell the bliss in which my soul would bask.
      There is no language but would desecrate
         A joy so great.

      “All that I ask, is just one tender touch
      Of that soft cheek. Thy pulsing palm in mine,
      Thy dark eyes lifted in a trust divine,
   And those curled lips that tempt me overmuch
      Turned where I may not seize the supreme bliss
         Of one mad kiss.

      “All that I ask,” says Love, “of life, of death,
      Or of high heaven itself, is just to stand,
      Glance melting into glance, hand twined in hand,
   The while I drink the nectar of thy breath
      In one sweet kiss, but one, of all thy store,
         I ask no more.”

      “All that I ask”—nay, self-deceiving Love,
      Reverse thy phrase, so thus the words may fall,
      In place of “all I ask,” say, “I ask all,”
   All that pertains to earth or soars above,
      All that thou wert, art, will be, body, soul,
         Love asks the whole.

by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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