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
Braddan Vicarage
By Thomas Edward Brown (1830–1897)
I WONDER if in that fair isle,
  Some child is growing now, like me
When I was child: care-pricked, yet healed the while
  With balm of rock and sea.
I wonder if the purple ring        5
  That rises on a belt of blue
Provokes the little bashful thing
  To guess what may ensue,
When he has pierced the screen, and holds the further clue.
I wonder if beyond the verge        10
  He dim conjectures England’s coast:
The land of Edwards and of Henries, scourge
  Of insolent foemen, at the most
Faint caught where Cumbria looms a geographic ghost.
I wonder if to him the sycamore        15
  Is full of green and tender light;
If the gnarled ash stands stunted at the door,
  By salt sea-blast defrauded of its right;
If budding larches feed the hunger of his sight.
I wonder if to him the dewy globes        20
  Like mercury nestle in the caper leaf;
If, when the white narcissus dons its robes,
  It soothes his childish grief;
If silver plates the birch, gold rustles in the sheaf.
I wonder if to him the heath-clad mountain        25
  With crimson pigment fills the sensuous cells;
If like full bubbles from an emerald fountain
  Gorse-bloom luxuriant wells;
If God with trenchant forms the insolent lushness quells.
*        *        *        *        *
I wonder if he loves that Captain bold        30
  Who has the horny hand,
Who swears the mighty oath, who well can hold,
  Half-drunk, serene command,
And guide his straining bark to refuge of the land.
I wonder if he thinks the world has aught        35
  Of strong, or nobly wise,
Like him by whom the invisible land is caught
  With instinct true, nor storms, nor midnight skies
Avert the settled aim, or daunt the keen emprise.
I wonder if he deems the English men        40
  A higher type beyond his reach,
Imperial blood, by Heaven ordained with pen
  And sword the populous world to teach;
If awed he hears the tones as of an alien speech;
*        *        *        *        *
Ah! crude, undisciplined, when thou shalt know        45
  What good is in this England, still of joys
The chiefest count it thou wast nurtured so
  That thou may’st keep the larger equipoise,
And stand outside these nations and their noise.

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