Verse > Anthologies > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of English Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.
Thomas Love Peacock. 1785–1866
593. Love and Age
I PLAY'D with you 'mid cowslips blowing, 
  When I was six and you were four; 
When garlands weaving, flower-balls throwing, 
  Were pleasures soon to please no more. 
Through groves and meads, o'er grass and heather,         5
  With little playmates, to and fro, 
We wander'd hand in hand together; 
  But that was sixty years ago. 
You grew a lovely roseate maiden, 
  And still our early love was strong;  10
Still with no care our days were laden, 
  They glided joyously along; 
And I did love you very dearly, 
  How dearly words want power to show; 
I thought your heart was touch'd as nearly;  15
  But that was fifty years ago. 
Then other lovers came around you, 
  Your beauty grew from year to year, 
And many a splendid circle found you 
  The centre of its glimmering sphere.  20
I saw you then, first vows forsaking, 
  On rank and wealth your hand bestow; 
O, then I thought my heart was breaking!— 
  But that was forty years ago. 
And I lived on, to wed another:  25
  No cause she gave me to repine; 
And when I heard you were a mother, 
  I did not wish the children mine. 
My own young flock, in fair progression, 
  Made up a pleasant Christmas row:  30
My joy in them was past expression; 
  But that was thirty years ago. 
You grew a matron plump and comely, 
  You dwelt in fashion's brightest blaze; 
My earthly lot was far more homely;  35
  But I too had my festal days. 
No merrier eyes have ever glisten'd 
  Around the hearth-stone's wintry glow, 
Than when my youngest child was christen'd; 
  But that was twenty years ago.  40
Time pass'd. My eldest girl was married, 
  And I am now a grandsire gray; 
One pet of four years old I've carried 
  Among the wild-flower'd meads to play. 
In our old fields of childish pleasure,  45
  Where now, as then, the cowslips blow, 
She fills her basket's ample measure; 
  And that is not ten years ago. 
But though first love's impassion'd blindness 
  Has pass'd away in colder light,  50
I still have thought of you with kindness, 
  And shall do, till our last good-night. 
The ever-rolling silent hours 
  Will bring a time we shall not know, 
When our young days of gathering flowers  55
  Will be an hundred years ago. 

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