Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
II. Divided
By Mary M. Singleton (“Violet Fane”) (1843–1905)
THEY did not quarrel; but betwixt them came
Combining circumstances, urging on
Towards the final ending of their loves.
Could they have smote and stung with bitter words,
Then sued for pardon on a blotted page,        5
And met, and kissed, and dried their mutual tears,
This had not been. But every day the breach
Widened without their knowledge. Time went by,
And led their footsteps into devious paths,
Each one approving, nay, with waving hand        10
Praying God-speed the other, since both roads
Seemed fair, and led away from sordid things,
And each one urged the other on to fame.
He was a very Cæsar for ambition;
And she, a simple singer in the woods,—        15
Athirst for Nature—ever needing her
To crown a holiday, and sanctify
As with a mother’s blessing, idle hours.
A bramble-blossom trailing in the way
Seemed more to her than all his talk of Courts        20
And Kings and Constitutions; but his aims
Rose far above the soaring of the lark,
That leaves the peeping daisy out of sight.
The State required him, and he could not stay
Loit’ring and ling’ring in the ‘primrose path        25
Of dalliance;’ and so it came to pass,
These two, that once were one, are two again,
And she is lone in spirit, having known
A sweeter thing than pipe of nightingale
Or scent of hawthorn, and yet loving these        30
And clinging to them still, though desolate,
And, like the lady of the ‘Lord of Burleigh;’
Lacking the ‘Landscape-painter’ in her life.
Thus, all her songs are sad—of withered leaves,
And blighted hopes, and echoes of the past,        35
And early death; and yet she cannot die,
But lives and sings, as he, too, lives and climbs,
Far from the sight of waving meadow-grass;
And so they walk divided.
                    Were it well
So soon to sever such a tender tie,        40
With never a reproach and none to blame,
And not one tear? With friendly greetings now
At careless meetings, cold and unforeseen,
As though no better days had ever dawned;
And all—for what?….
                Nay, be it for the best!
Who knows, if we love well till we regret
And sigh, in sadness, for a good thing gone?
Thus, all may work to wisdom.
                        Wherefore, wake
With wind-strewn cuckoo-bloom and daffodil,
Fond foolish love of spring-tide and hot youth,        50
And die when these have perished!….

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