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

Walter Savage Landor 1775–1864

From “Myrtis”


FRIENDS, whom she look’d at blandly from her couch

And her white wrist above it, gem-bedew’d,

Were arguing with Pentheusa: she had heard

Report of Creon’s death, whom years before

She listen’d to, well-pleas’d; and sighs arose;

For sighs full often fondle with reproofs

And will be fondled by them. When I came

After the rest to visit her, she said,

“Myrtis! how kind! Who better knows than thou

The pangs of love? and my first love was he!”

Tell me (if ever, Eros! are reveal’d

Thy secrets to the earth) have they been true

To any love who speak about the first?

What! shall these holier lights, like twinkling stars

In the few hours assign’d them, change their place,

And, when comes ampler splendor, disappear?

Idler I am, and pardon, not reply,

Implore from thee, thus question’d; well I know

Thou strikest, like Olympian Jove, but once.