Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Extracts from Ionica: Parting
By William Johnson Cory (1823–1892)
 
AS when a traveller, forced to journey back,
  Takes coin by coin, and gravely counts them o’er,
Grudging each payment, fearing lest he lack,
  Before he can regain the friendly shore;
So reckoned I your sojourn, day by day,        5
So grudged I every week that dropt away.
 
And as a prisoner, doomed and bound, upstarts
  From shattered dreams of wedlock and repose,
At sudden rumblings of the market-carts,
  Which bring to town the strawberry and the rose,        10
And wakes to meet sure death; so shuddered I,
To hear you meditate your gay Good-bye.
 
But why not gay? For, if there’s aught you lose,
  It is but drawing off a wrinkled glove
To turn the keys of treasuries, free to choose        15
  Throughout the hundred-chambered house of love,
This pathos draws from you, though true and kind,
Only bland pity for the left-behind.
 
We part; you comfort one bereaved, unmanned;
  You calmly chide the silence and the grief;        20
You touch me once with light and courteous hand,
  And with a sense of something like relief
You turn away from what may seem to be
Too hard a trial of your charity.
 
So closes in the life of life; so ends        25
  The soaring of the spirit. What remains?
To take whate’er the Muse’s mother lends,
  One sweet sad thought in many soft refrains
And half reveal in Coan gauze of rhyme
A cherished image of your joyous prime.        30
 
 
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