Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
‘Is It Nothing to You’
By May Probyn (1856–1909)
WE were playing on the green together,
  My sweetheart and I—
O! so heedless in the gay June weather
  When the word went forth that we must die.
O! so merrily the balls of amber        5
  And of ivory toss’d we to the sky,
While the word went forth in the King’s chamber
  That we both must die.
O! so idly straying thro’ the pleasaunce
  Pluck’d we here and there        10
Fruit and bud, while in the royal presence
  The King’s son was casting from his hair
Glory of the wreathen gold that crown’d it,
  And, ungirdling all his garments fair,
Flinging by the jewell’d clasp that bound it,        15
  With his feet made bare.
Down the myrtled stairway of the palace,
  Ashes on his head,
Came he, thro’ the rose and citron alleys,
  In rough sark of sackcloth habited,        20
And in the hempen halter—O! we jested
  Lightly, and we laugh’d as he was led
To the torture, while the bloom we breasted
  Where the grapes grew red.
O! so sweet the birds, when he was dying,        25
  Piped to her and me—
Is no room this glad June day for sighing—
  He is dead, and she and I go free!
When the sun shall set on all our pleasure
  We will mourn him—What, so you decree        30
We are heartless? Nay, but in what measure
  Do you more than we?

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