Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
By Richard Monckton Milnes, Lord Houghton (1809–1885)
THEY seemed to those who saw them meet
  The casual friends of every day,
Her smile was undisturbed and sweet,
  His courtesy was free and gay.
But yet if one the other’s name        5
  In some unguarded moment heard,
The heart, you thought so calm and tame,
  Would struggle like a captured bird:
And letters of mere formal phrase
  Were blistered with repeated tears,—        10
And this was not the work of days,
  But had gone on for years and years!
Alas! that Love was not too strong
  For maiden shame and manly pride!
Alas! that they delayed so long        15
  The goal of mutual bliss beside.
Yet what no chance could then reveal,
  And neither would be first to own,
Let fate and courage now conceal,
  When truth could bring remorse alone.        20

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