Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
At a Country Dance in Provence
By Harold Monro (1879–1932)
COMRADES, when the air is sweet,
It is fair, in stately measure,
With a sound of gliding feet,
It is fair and very meet
To be join’d in pleasure.        5
Listen to the rhythmic beat:
Let us mingle, move and sway
Solemnly as at some rite
Of a festive mystic god,
While the sunlight holds the day.        10
Comrades, is it not delight
To be govern’d by the rod
Of the music, and to go
Moving, moving, moving slow?
Very stately are your ways,        15
Stately—and the southern glow
Of the sun is in your eyes:
Under lids inclining low
All the light of harvest days,
And the gleam of summer skies        20
Tenderly reflected lies.
May I not be one of you
Even for this little space?
Humbly I am fain to sue
That our arms may interlace.        25
I am otherwise I know;
Many books have made me sad:
Yet indeed your stately slow
Motion and its rhythmic flow
Drive me, drive me, drive me mad.        30
Must I now, as always, gaze
Patiently from far away
At the pageant of the days?—
Only let me live to-day!
For your hair is ebon black,        35
And your eyes celestial blue;
For your measure is so true,
Slowly forward, slowly back—
I would fain be one of you.
Comrades, comrades!—but the sound        40
Of the music with a start
Ceases, and you pass me by.
Slowly from the dancing-ground
To the tavern you depart.
All the earth is silent grown        45
After so much joy, and I
Suddenly am quite alone
With the beating of my heart.

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