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
 
The Rose and the Ring
By Frederick Locker-Lampson (1821–1895)
 
SHE smiles, but her heart is in sable,
  Ay, sad as her Christmas is chill;
She reads, and her book is the Fable
  He penn’d for her while she was ill.
It is nine years ago since he wrought it,        5
  Where reedy old Tiber is king;
And chapter by chapter he brought it,—
  He read her The Rose and the Ring.
 
And when it was printed, and gaining
  Renown with all lovers of glee,        10
He sent her this copy containing
  His comical little croquis;
A sketch of a rather droll couple,
  She’s pretty, he’s quite t’other thing!
He begs (with a spine vastly supple)        15
  She will study The Rose and the Ring.
 
It pleased the kind Wizard to send her
  The last and the best of his Toys;
He aye had a sentiment tender
  For innocent maidens and boys:        20
And though he was great as a scorner,
  The guileless were safe from his sting:
How sad is past mirth to the mourner—
  A tear on The Rose and the Ring.
 
She reads; I may vainly endeavour        25
  Her mirth-chequer’d grief to pursue;
For she knows she has lost, and for ever,
  The Heart that was bared to so few;
But here, on the shrine of his glory,
  One poor little blossom I fling;—        30
And you see there’s a nice little story
  Attach’d to The Rose and the Ring. 1
 
Note 1. When writing The Rose and the Ring at Rome Thackeray used to go and read it to a little friend (the daughter of Story, the American sculptor) who was then lying ill. [back]
 
 
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