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  All That Love Asks  


     "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,

       - Ella Wheeler Wilcox

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