Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
Pope at Twickenham
Charles Kent (b. 1823)
BEYOND a hundred years and more,
A garden lattice like a door
  Stands open in the sun,
Admitting fitful winds that set
Astir the fragrant mignonette        5
  In waves of speckled dun:
Sweet waves, above whose odorous flow
Red roses bud, red roses blow,
  In beds that gem the lawn—
Enamell’d rings and stars of flowers,        10
By summer beams and vernal showers
  From earth nutritious drawn.
Within the broad bay-window, there,
Lo! huddled in his easy-chair,
  One hand upon his knee,        15
A hand so thin, so wan, so frail,
It tells of pains and griefs a tale,
  A small bent form I see.
The day is fair, the hour is noon,
From neighboring thicket thrills the boon        20
  The nuthatch yields in song:
All drench’d with recent rains, the leaves
Are dripping—drip the sheltering eaves,
  The dropping notes among.
And twinkling diamonds in the grass        25
Show where the flitting zephyrs pass,
  That shake the green blades dry;
And golden radiance fills the air
And gilds the floating gossamer
  That glints and trembles by.        30
Yet, blind to each familiar grace,
Strange anguish on his pallid face,
  And eyes of dreamful hue,
That lonely man sits brooding there,
Still huddled in his easy-chair,        35
  With memories life will rue.
Where bay might crown that honor’d head,
A homely crumpled nightcap spread
  Half veils the careworn brows;
In morning-gown of rare brocade        40
His puny shrunken shape array’d
  His sorrowing soul avows:
Avows in every dropping line
Dejection words not thus define
  So eloquent of woe;        45
Yet never to those mournful eyes,
The heart’s full-brimming fountains, rise
  Sweet tears to overflow.
No token here of studied grief,
But plainest signs that win belief,        50
  A simple scene and true.
Beside the mourner’s chair display’d,
The matin meal’s slight comforts laid
  Trimly the board bestrew.
’Mid silvery sheen of burnish’d plate,        55
The chill’d and tarnish’d chocolate
  On snow-white damask stands;
Untouch’d the trivial lures remain
In dainty pink-tinged porcelain,
  Still ranged by usual hands.        60
A drowsy bee above the cream
Hums loitering in the sunny gleam
  That tips each rim with gold;
A checker’d maze of light and gloom
Floats in the quaintly-litter’d room        65
  With varying charms untold.
Why sits that silent watcher there,
Still brooding with that face of care,
  That gaze of tearless pain?
What bonds of woe his spirit bind,        70
What treasure lost can leave behind
  Such stings within his brain?
He dreams of one who lies above,
He never more in life can love—
  That mother newly dead;        75
He waits the artist-friend whose skill
Shall catch angel-beauty still
  Upon her features spread.
A reverent sorrow fills the air,
And makes a throne of grief the chair        80
  Where filial genius mourns:
Death proving still, at direst need,
Life’s sceptre-wand—a broken reed,
  Love’s wreath—a crown of thorns.


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