Ad Manus Puellae
I was always a lover of ladies’ hands!
   Or ever mine heart came here to tryst,
For the sake of your carved white hands’ commands;
   The tapering fingers, the dainty wrist;
   The hands of a girl were what I kissed.
I remember an hand like a fleur-de-lys
   When it slid from its silken sheath, her glove;
With its odours passing ambergris:
   And that was the empty husk of a love.
   Oh, how shall I kiss your hands enough?
They are pale with the pallor of ivories;
   But they blush to the tips like a curled sea-shell:
What treasure, in kingly treasuries,
   Of gold, and spice for the thurible,
   Is sweet as her hands to hoard and tell!
I know not the way from your finger-tips,
   Nor how I shall gain the higher lands,
The citadel of your sacred lips:
   I am captive still of my pleasant bands,
   The hands of a girl, and most your hands.

Webpage © 2002 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created November 12, 2002; not revised.