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
Extracts from The Wanderer: Spring and Winter
By E. Robert Bulwer, Lord Lytton (Owen Meredith) (1831–1891)
WAS it well in him, if he
  Felt not love, to speak of love so?
If he still unmoved must be,
  Was it nobly sought to move so?
Pluck the flower, but not to wear it—        5
Spurn it from him, yet not spare it?
Need he say that I was fair,
  With such meaning in his tone,
Adding ever that her hair
  Had the same tinge as my own?        10
Pluck my life up, root and bloom,
To make garlands for her tomb!
And, her cheek, he said, tho’ bright.
  Lack’d the lucid blush divine
Of that rose each whisper light        15
  Of his praises waked in mine;
But ’twas just that he loved then
More than he can love again.
Then, if beauty could not bind him,
  Wherefore praise me, speaking low?        20
Use my face just to remind him
  How no face could please him now?
Why, if loving could not move him,
Did he teach me still to love him?
“Yes!” he said, “he had grown wise now:
  He had suffer’d much of yore:
But a fair face, to his eyes now,
  Was a fair face, and no more.
Yet the anguish and the bliss,
And the dream too, had been his.”        30
Ah, those words a thought too tender
  For the commonplaces spoken!
Looks whose meaning seem’d to render
  Help to words when speech came broken!
Why so late in July moonlight        35
Just to say what ’s said by noonlight?
And why praise my youth for gladness,
  Keeping something in his smile
That changed all my youth to sadness,
  He still smiling all the while?        40
Since, when so my youth was over,
He said “Seek some younger lover!”
Well, the Spring ’s back now! the thrushes
  Are astir as heretofore,
And the apple-blossom blushes        45
  As of old about the door.
Doth he taste a finer bliss,
I must wonder, in all this,
(Winning thus what I have lost)
  By the usage of my youth?        50
I can feel my forehead crost
  By the wrinkle’s fretful tooth,
While the grey grows in my hair,
And the cold creeps everywhere.

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