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

Arthur Joseph Munby b. 1828

Doris: A Pastoral

I SAT with Doris, the shepherd-maiden;

Her crook was laden with wreathed flowers:

I sat and woo’d her, through sunlight wheeling

And shadows stealing, for hours and hours.

And she, my Doris, whose lap encloses

Wild summer-roses of sweet perfume,

The while I sued her, kept hush’d and hearken’d,

Till shades had darken’d from gloss to gloom.

She touch’d my shoulder with fearful finger;

She said, “We linger, we must not stay:

My flock ’s in danger, my sheep will wander;

Behold them yonder, how far they stray!”

I answer’d bolder, “Nay, let me hear you,

And still be near you, and still adore!

No wolf nor stranger will touch one yearling:

Ah! stay, my darling, a moment more!”

She whisper’d, sighing, “There will be sorrow

Beyond to-morrow, if I lose to-day;

My fold unguarded, my flock unfolded,

I shall be scolded and sent away.”

Said I, denying, “If they do miss you,

They ought to kiss you when you get home;

And well rewarded by friend and neighbor

Should be the labor from which you come.”

“They might remember,” she answer’d meekly,

“That lambs are weakly, and sheep are wild;

But if they love me, it ’s none so fervent:

I am a servant, and not a child.”

Then each hot ember glow’d within me,

And love did win me to swift reply:

“Ah! do but prove me; and none shall bind you,

Nor fray nor find you, until I die.”

She blush’d and started, and stood awaiting,

As if debating in dreams divine;

But I did brave them; I told her plainly

She doubted vainly, she must be mine.

So we, twin-hearted, from all the valley

Did rouse and rally her nibbling ewes;

And homeward drave them, we two together,

Through blooming heather and gleaming dews.

That simple duty fresh grace did lend her,

My Doris tender, my Doris true;

That I, her warder, did always bless her,

And often press her to take her due.

And now in beauty she fills my dwelling,

With love excelling, and undefil’d;

And love doth guard her, both fast and fervent,

No more a servant, nor yet a child.