Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
First Pathways
By Sidney Royse Lysaght (1860–1941)
WHERE were the pathways that your childhood knew?—
  In mountain glens? or by the ocean strands?
  Or where, beyond the ripening harvest lands,
The distant hills were blue?
Where evening sunlight threw a golden haze        5
  Over a mellow city’s walls and towers?
  Or where the fields and lanes were bright with flowers,
In quiet woodland ways?
And whether here or there, or east or west,
  That place you dwelt in first was holy ground;        10
  Its shelter was the kindest you have found,
Its pathways were the best.
And even in the city’s smoke and mire
  I doubt not that a golden light was shed
  On those first paths, and that they also led        15
To lands of heart’s desire.
And where the children in dark alleys penn’d,
  Heard the caged lark sing of the April hills,
  Or where they damm’d the muddy gutter rills,
Or made a dog their friend;        20
Or where they gather’d, dancing hand in hand,
  About the organ man, for them, too, lay
  Beyond the dismal alley’s entrance way,
The gates of wonderland.
For ’tis my faith that Earth’s first words are sweet        25
  To all her children,—never a rebuff;
  And that we only saw, where ways were rough,
The flowers about our feet.

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