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.
 
Midsummer Courtship
By James Thomson (1834–1882)
 
O, HOW the nights are short,
  These heavenly nights of June!
The long hot day amort
With toil, the time to court
  So stinted in its boon!        5
 
But three or four brief hours
  Between the afterglow
And dawnlight; while the flowers
Are dreaming in their bowers,
  And birds their song forgo;        10
 
And in the noon of night,
  As in the noon of day,
Flowers close on their delight,
Birds nestle from their flight,
  Deep stillness holdeth sway:        15
 
Only the nightingales
  Yet sing to moon and stars,
Although their full song fails;
The corncrake never quails,
  But through the silence jars.        20
 
So few brief hours of peace;
  And only one for us,
Alone, in toil’s surcease,
To feed on love’s increase:
  It is too cruel thus!        25
 
Did little Mother chide
  Because our sewing dropp’d
And we sat dreamy-eyed?
Dear Mother, good betide,
  The scolding must be stopp’d.        30
 
Dear Mother, good and true,
  All-loving while you blame,
When spring brings skies of blue
And buds and flowers anew,
  I come in with my claim!        35
 
I claim my Love, my Own,
  Yet ever yours the while,
Under whose care hath grown
The sweetest blossom blown
  In all our flower-loved isle.        40
 
The Spring renews its youth
  And youth renews its Spring:
Love’s wildest dreams are truth,
Magic is sober sooth;
  Charm of the Magic Ring!        45
 
 
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