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

Frances Tyrrell Gill

Beneath the Wattle Boughs

THE WATTLES were sweet with September’s rain,

We drank in their breath and the breath of the spring:

“Our pulses are strong with the tide of life,”

I said, “and one year is so swift a thing!”

The land all around was yellow with bloom,

The birds in the branches sang joyous and shrill,

The blue range rose ’gainst the blue of the sky,

Yet she sighed, “But death may be stronger still!”

Then I reached and gathered a blossomy bough,

And divided its clustering sprays in twain,

“As a token for each” (I closed one in her hand)

“Till we come to the end of the year again!”

Then the years sped on, strung high with life;

And laughter and gold were the gifts they gave,

Till I chanced one day on some pale dead flowers,

And spake, shaking and white, “One more gift I crave.”

“Nay,” a shadow voice in the air replied,

“’Neath the blossoming wattles you ’ll find a grave!”