Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
I. The Primrose
By Caroline (Bowles) Southey (1787–1854)
I SAW it in my evening walk,
  A little lonely flower!
Under a hollow bank it grew,
  Deep in a mossy bower.
An oak’s gnarl’d root, to roof the cave        5
  With Gothic fretwork sprung,
Whence jewell’d fern, and arum leaves,
  And ivy garlands hung.
And from beneath came sparkling out
  From a fallen tree’s old shell,        10
A little rill, that dipt about
  The lady in her cell.
And there, methought, with bashful pride,
  She seem’d to sit and look
On her own maiden loveliness        15
  Pale imaged in the brook.
No other flower—no rival grew
  Beside my pensive maid;
She dwelt alone, a cloister’d nun,
  In solitude and shade.        20
No sunbeam on that fairy well
  Darted its dazzling light—
Only, methought, some clear, cold star
  Might tremble there at night.
No ruffling wind could reach her there—        25
  No eye, methought, but mine,
Or the young lamb’s that came to drink,
  Had spied her secret shrine.
And there was pleasantness to me
  In such belief. Cold eyes        30
That slight dear Nature’s lowliness,
  Profane her mysteries.
Long time I looked and linger’d there,
  Absorb’d in still delight—
My spirit drank deep quietness        35
  In, with that quiet sight.

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