Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
To ——
 
Alexander Smith (1829–67)
 
 
THE BROKEN moon lay in the autumn sky,
  And I lay at thy feet;
You bent above me; in the silence I
  Could hear my wild heart beat.
 
I spoke; my soul was full of trembling fears        5
  At what my words would bring:
You rais’d your face, your eyes were full of tears,
  As the sweet eyes of Spring.
 
You kiss’d me then, I worshipp’d at thy feet
  Upon the shadowy sod.        10
Oh, fool, I lov’d thee! lov’d thee, lovely cheat!
  Better than Fame or God.
 
My soul leap’d up beneath thy timid kiss;
  What then to me were groans,
Or pain, or death? Earth was a round of bliss,        15
  I seem’d to walk on thrones.
 
And you were with me ’mong the rushing wheels,
  ’Mid Trade’s tumultuous jars;
And where to awe-struck wilds the Night reveals
  Her hollow gulfs of stars.        20
 
Before your window, as before a shrine,
  I ’ve knelt ’mong dew-soak’d flowers,
While distant music-bells, with voices fine,
  Measur’d the midnight hours.
 
There came a fearful moment: I was pale,        25
  You wept, and never spoke,
But clung around me as the woodbine frail
  Clings, pleading, round an oak.
 
Upon my wrong I steadied up my soul,
  And flung thee from myself;        30
I spurn’d thy love as ’t were a rich man’s dole,—
  It was my only wealth.
 
I spurn’d thee! I, who lov’d thee, could have died,
  That hop’d to call thee “wife,”
And bear thee, gently-smiling at my side,        35
  Through all the shocks of life!
 
Too late, thy fatal beauty and thy tears,
  Thy vows, thy passionate breath;
I ’ll meet thee not in Life, nor in the spheres
  Made visible by Death.        40
 

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