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Lost poem – Alfred Austin


Sweet lark! that, bedded in the tangled grass,

Protractest dewy slumbers, wake, arise!

The brightest moments of the morning pass-

Thou shouldst be up, and carolling in the skies.

Go up! go up! and melt into the blue,

And to heaven’s veil on wings of song repair;

But, ere thou dost descend to earth, peep through,

And see if She be there.

Sweet stockdove! cooing in the flushing wood,

On one green bough brooding till morn hath died,

Oh, leave the perch where thou too long hast stood,

And with strong wings flutter the leaves aside!

Fly on, fly on, past feathery copse, nor stay

Till thou hast skimmed o’er all the woodlands fair!

And when thou hast, then speeding back thy way,

Tell me if She be there.

Sweet breeze! that, wearied with the heat of noon,

Upon a bank of daffodils didst die,

Oh, if thou lov’st me, quit thy perfumed swoon,

And, all refreshed, hither and thither hie.

Traverse the glades where browse the dappled deer,

Thrid the deep dells where none but thou mayst dare;

And then, sweet breeze, returning, to my ear

Whisper if She be there.

Sweet rivulet! running far too fast to stay,

Yet hear my plaint, e’en as thou rollest on!

I am alone-alone-both night and day,

For she I love was with me, and is gone.

Oh, shouldst thou find her on the golden beach

Whither thou speedest ocean’s joys to share,

Remount thy course, despite what sophists teach,

And tell me She is there.

Not there! Nor there! Not in the far-off sky,

Close-keeping woods, or by the shining sea!

When lark, dove, breeze, and rivulet vainly try

To find my sweet-oh, where then may she be?

Hath she then left me-me she vowed so dear,

And she whose shadow dusks all other charms?

O foolish messengers! Look, look! She’s here,

Enfolded in my arms!


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