Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
The Rustic at the Play
By George Santayana (1863–1952)
OUR youth is like a rustic at the play
  That cries aloud in simple-hearted fear,
Curses the villain, shudders at the fray,
  And weeps before the maiden’s wreathèd bier.
Yet once familiar with the changing show,        5
  He starts no longer at a brandished knife;
But, his heart chasten’d at the sight of woe,
  Ponders the mirror’d sorrows of his life.
So tutor’d too, I watch the moving art
  Of all this magic and impassion’d pain        10
That tells the story of the human heart
  In a false instance, such as poets feign.
I smile, and keep within the parchment furl’d
That prompts the passions of this strutting world.

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