Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The Lost Mistress
By Robert Browning (1812–1889)
 
ALL ’S over, then: does truth sound bitter
  As one at first believes?
Hark, ’tis the sparrows’ good-night twitter
  About your cottage eaves!
 
And the leaf-buds on the vine are woolly,        5
  I noticed that, to-day;
One day more bursts them open fully
  —You know the red turns gray.
 
To-morrow we meet the same then, dearest?
  May I take your hand in mine?        10
Mere friends are we,—well, friends the merest
  Keep much that I resign:
 
For each glance of the eye so bright and black,
  Though I keep with heart’s endeavour,—
Your voice, when you wish the snowdrops back,        15
  Tho’ it stay in my soul for ever!—
 
Yet I will but say what mere friends say,
  Or only a thought stronger;
I will hold your hand but as long as all may,
  Or so very little longer!        20
 
 
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