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

Thomas Lovell Beddoes 1803–49

Ballad of Human Life


WHEN we were girl and boy together,

We toss’d about the flowers

And wreath’d the blushing hours

Into a posy green and sweet.

I sought the youngest, best,

And never was at rest

Till I had laid them at thy fairy feet.

But the days of childhood they were fleet,

And the blooming sweet-briar-breath’d weather,

When we were boy and girl together.

Then we were lad and lass together,

And sought the kiss of night

Before we felt aright,

Sitting and singing soft and sweet.

The dearest thought of heart

With thee ’t was joy to part,

And the greater half was thine, as meet.

Still my eyelid’s dewy, my veins they beat

At the starry summer-evening weather,

When we were lad and lass together.

And we are man and wife together,

Although thy breast, once bold

With song, be clos’d and cold

Beneath flowers’ roots and birds’ light feet.

Yet sit I by thy tomb,

And dissipate the gloom

With songs of loving faith and sorrow sweet.

And fate and darkling grave kind dreams do cheat,

That, while fair life, young hope, despair and death are,

We ’re boy and girl, and lass and lad, and man and wife together.