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- The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 6/175 -

Helen Selina Sheridan [1807-1867]

SONG From "Maud"

O, let the solid ground, Not fail beneath my feet Before my life has found What some have found so sweet; Then let come what come may, What matter if I go mad, I shall have had my day.

Let the sweet heavens endure, Not close and darken above me Before I am quite quite sure That there is one to love me! Then let come what come may To a life that has been so sad, I shall have had my day.

Alfred Tennyson [1809-1892]


Somewhere beneath the sun, These quivering heart-strings prove it, Somewhere there must be one Made for this soul to move it; Some one that hides her sweetness From neighbors whom she slights, Nor can attain completeness, Nor give her heart its rights; Some one whom I could court With no great change of manner, Still holding reason's fort, Though waving fancy's banner; A lady, not so queenly As to disdain my hand, Yet born to smile serenely Like those that rule the land; Noble, but not too proud; With soft hair simply folded, And bright face crescent-browed, And throat by Muses moulded; And eyelids lightly falling On little glistening seas, Deep-calm, when gales are brawling, Though stirred by every breeze; Swift voice, like flight of dove Through minster-arches floating, With sudden turns, when love Gets overnear to doting; Keen lips, that shape soft sayings Like crystals of the snow, With pretty half-betrayings Of things one may not know; Fair hand whose touches thrill, Like golden rod of wonder, Which Hermes wields at will Spirit and flesh to sunder; Light foot, to press the stirrup In fearlessness and glee, Or dance, till finches chirrup, And stars sink to the sea.

Forth, Love, and find this maid, Wherever she be hidden: Speak, Love, be not afraid, But plead as thou art bidden; And say, that he who taught thee His yearning want and pain, Too dearly, dearly bought thee To part with thee in vain.

William Johnson-Cory [1823-1892]


Love took my life and thrilled it Through all its strings, Played round my mind and filled it With sound of wings; But to my heart he never came To touch it with his golden flame.

Therefore it is that singing I do rejoice, Nor heed the slow years bringing A harsher voice; Because the songs which he has sung Still leave the untouched singer young.

But whom in fuller fashion The Master sways, For him, swift-winged with passion, Fleet the brief days. Betimes the enforced accents come, And leave him ever after dumb.

Lewis Morris [1833-1907]


I hid my heart in a nest of roses, Out of the sun's way, hidden apart; In a softer bed then the soft white snow's is, Under the roses I hid my heart. Why would it sleep not? why should it start, When never a leaf of the rose-tree stirred? What made sleep flutter his wings and part? Only the song of a secret bird.

Lie still, I said, for the wind's wing closes, And mild leaves muffle the keen sun's dart; Lie still, for the wind on the warm seas dozes, And the wind is unquieter yet than thou art. Does a thought in thee still as a thorn's wound smart? Does the fang still fret thee of hope deferred? What bids the lips of thy sleep dispart? Only the song of a secret bird.

The green land's name that a charm encloses, It never was writ in the traveller's chart, And sweet on its trees as the fruit that grows is, It never was sold in the merchant's mart. The swallows of dreams through its dim fields dart, And sleep's are the tunes in its tree-tops heard; No hound's note wakens the wildwood hart, Only the song of a secret bird.

ENVOI In the world of dreams I have chosen my part, To sleep for a season and hear no word Of true love's truth or of light love's art, Only the song of a secret bird.

Algernon Charles Swinburne [1837-1909]


The rising moon has hid the stars;

Her level rays, like golden bars, Lie on the landscape green, With shadows brown between.

And silver white the river gleams, As if Diana, in her dreams Had dropped her silver bow Upon the meadows low.

On such a tranquil night as this, She woke Endymion with a kiss, When, sleeping in the grove, He dreamed not of her love.

Like Dian's kiss, unasked, unsought, Love gives itself, but is not bought; Nor voice, nor sound betrays Its deep, impassioned gaze.

It comes, - the beautiful, the free, The crown of all humanity, - In silence and alone To seek the elected one.

It lifts the boughs, whose shadows deep Are life's oblivion, the soul's sleep, And kisses the closed eyes Of him who slumbering lies.

O weary hearts! O slumbering eyes! O drooping souls, whose destinies Are fraught with fear and pain, Ye shall be loved again!

No one is so accursed by fate, No one so utterly desolate, But some heart, though unknown, Responds unto his own.

Responds, - as if with unseen wings, An angel touched its quivering strings; And whispers, in its song, "Where hast thou stayed so long?"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow [1807-1882]


Two shall be born, the whole wide world apart, And speak in different tongues and have no thought

The Home Book of Verse, Volume 2 - 6/175

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