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
The Intercepted Salute
By Thomas Edward Brown (1830–1897)
A LITTLE maiden met me in the lane,
And smiled a smile so very fain,
So full of trust and happiness,
I could not choose but bless
The child, that she should have such grace        5
To laugh into my face.
She never could have known me; but I thought
It was the common joy that wrought
Within the little creature’s heart,
As who should say:—“Thou art        10
As I; the heaven is bright above us;
And there is God to love us.
And I am but a little gleeful maid,
And thou art big, and old, and staid;
But the blue hills have made thee mild        15
As is a little child.
Wherefore I laugh that thou may’st see—
O, laugh! O, laugh with me!”
A pretty challenge! Then I turned me round,
And straight the sober truth I found.        20
For I was not alone; behind me stood,
Beneath his load of wood,
He that of right the smile possessed—
Her father manifest.
O, blest be God! that such an overplus        25
Of joy is given to us:
That that sweet innocent
Gave me the gift she never meant,
A gift secure and permanent!
For, howsoe’er the smile had birth,        30
It is an added glory on the earth.

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