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.
 
Pagan Epitaph
By Richard Middleton (1882–1911)
 
SERVANT of the eternal Must
  I lie here, here let me lie,
In the ashes and the dust,
  Dreaming, dreaming pleasantly.
When I lived I sought no wings,        5
  Schemed no heaven, plann’d no hell,
But, content with little things,
  Made an earth, and it was well.
 
Song and laughter, food and wine,
  Roses, roses red and white,        10
And a star or two to shine
  On my dewy world at night.
Lord, what more could I desire?
  With my little heart of clay
I have lit no eternal fire        15
  To burn my dreams on Judgement Day!
 
Well I loved, but they who knew
  What my laughing heart could be,
What my singing lips could do,
  Lie a-dreaming here with me.        20
I can feel their finger-tips
  Stroke the darkness from my face,
And the music of their lips
  Fills my pleasant resting-place
In the ashes and the dust,        25
  Where I wonder as I lie,
Servant of the eternal Must,
  Dreaming, dreaming pleasantly.
 
 
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