Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

Alfred Austin 1835–1913



SHE wanders in the April woods,

That glisten with the fallen shower;

She leans her face against the buds,

She stops, she stoops, she plucks a flower.

She feels the ferment of the hour:

She broodeth when the ringdove broods;

The sun and flying clouds have power

Upon her cheek and changing moods.

She cannot think she is alone,

As o’er her senses warmly steal

Floods of unrest she fears to own,

And almost dreads to feel.

Among the summer woodlands wide

Anew she roams, no more alone;

The joy she fear’d is at her side,

Spring’s blushing secret now is known.

The primrose and its mates have flown,

The thrush’s ringing note hath died;

But glancing eye and glowing tone

Fall on her from her god, her guide.

She knows not, asks not, what the goal,

She only feels she moves towards bliss,

And yields her pure unquestioning soul

To touch and fondling kiss.

And still she haunts those woodland ways,

Though all fond fancy finds there now

To mind of spring or summer days,

Are sodden trunk and songless bough.

The past sits widow’d on her brow,

Homeward she wends with wintry gaze,

To walls that house a hollow vow,

To hearth where love hath ceas’d to blaze:

Watches the clammy twilight wane,

With grief too fix’d for woe or tear;

And, with her forehead ’gainst the pane,

Envies the dying year.