Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
Any Lover, Any Lass
By Richard Middleton (1882–1911)
WHY are her eyes so bright, so bright,
  Why do her lips control
The kisses of a summer night,
  When I would love her soul?
God set her brave eyes wide apart        5
  And painted them with fire;
They stir the ashes of my heart
  To embers of desire.
Her lips so tenderly are wrought
  In so divine a shape,        10
That I am servant to my thought
  And can no wise escape.
Her body is a flower, her hair
  About her neck doth play;
I find her colours everywhere,        15
  They are the pride of day.
Her little hands are soft, and when
  I see her fingers move
I know in very truth that men
  Have died for less than love.        20
Ah, dear, live, lovely thing! my eyes
  Have sought her like a prayer;
It is my better self that cries
  ‘Would she were not so fair!’
Would I might forfeit ecstasy        25
  And find a calmer place,
Where I might undesirous see
  Her too desirèd face:
Nor find her eyes so bright, so bright,
  Nor hear her lips unroll        30
Dream after dream the lifelong night,
  When I would love her soul.

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