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.
 
Isabel
By Sydney Dobell (1824–1874)
 
MY heart’s despair
Looks for thee ere the firstling smoke hath curl’d
While the rapt earth is at her morning pray’r,
Ere yet she putteth on her workday air
And robes her for the world,        5
Isabel.
 
When the sun-burst is o’er
My lonely way about the world I take,
Doing and saying much, and feeling more,
And all things for thy sake,        10
Isabel.
 
But never once I dare
To see thine image till the day be new,
And lip hath sullied not the unbreathed air,
And waking eyes are few,        15
Isabel.
 
Then that lost form appears
Which was a joy to few on earth but me:
In the young light I see thy guileless glee,
In the deep dews thy tears,        20
Isabel.
 
So with Promethean moan
In widowhood renew’d I learn to grieve;
Blest with one only thought—that I alone
Can fade: that thou thro’ years shalt still shine on        25
In beauty, as in beauty art thou gone,
Thou morn that knew no eve,
Isabel.
 
In beauty art thou gone;
As some bright meteor gleams across the night,        30
Gazed on by all, but understood by none,
And dying by its own excess of light,
Isabel.
 
 
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