Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  From “Love in Exile”

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

Mathilde Blind b. 1850

From “Love in Exile”


WHY will you haunt me unawares,

And walk into my sleep,

Pacing its shadowy thoroughfares,

Where long-dried perfume scents the airs,

While ghosts of sorrow creep,

Where on Hope’s ruined altar-stairs,

With ineffectual beams,

The Moon of Memory coldly glares

Upon the land of dreams?

My yearning eyes were fain to look

Upon your hidden face;

Their love, alas! you could not brook,

But in your own you mutely took

My hand, and for a space

You wrung it till I throbbed and shook,

And woke with wildest moan

And wet face channelled like a brook

With your tears or my own.


We met as strangers on life’s lonely way,

And yet it seemed we knew each other well;

There was no end to what thou hadst to say,

Or to the thousand things I found to tell.

My heart, long silent, at thy voice that day

Chimed in my breast like to a silver bell.

How much we spoke, and yet still left untold

Some secret half revealed within our eyes:

Didst thou not love me once in ages old?

Had I not called thee with importunate cries,

And, like a child left sobbing in the cold,

Listened to catch from far thy fond replies?

We met as strangers, and as such we part;

Yet all my life seems leaving me with thine;

Ah, to be clasped once only heart to heart,

If only once to feel that thou wert mine!

These lips are locked, and yet I know thou art

That all in all for which my soul did pine.