Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  From “Phantasmion”

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

Sara Coleridge 1802–52

From “Phantasmion”

ONE face alone, one face alone,

These eyes require;

But, when that long’d-for sight is shown,

What fatal fire

Shoots through my veins a keen and liquid flame,

That melts each fibre of my wasting frame!

One voice alone, one voice alone,

I pine to hear;

But, when its meek mellifluous tone

Usurps mine ear,

Those slavish chains about my soul are wound,

Which ne’er, till death itself, can be unbound.

One gentle hand, one gentle hand,

I fain would hold;

But, when it seems at my command,

My own grows cold;

Then low to earth I bend in sickly swoon,

Like lilies drooping ’mid the blaze of noon.


HE came unlook’d for, undesir’d,

A sunrise in the northern sky,

More than the brightest dawn admir’d,

To shine and then forever fly.

His love, conferr’d without a claim,

Perchance was like the fitful blaze,

Which lives to light a steadier flame,

And, while that strengthens, fast decays.

Glad fawn along the forest springing,

Gay birds that breeze-like stir the leaves,

Why hither haste, no message bringing,

To solace one that deeply grieves?

Thou star that dost the skies adorn,

So brightly heralding the day,

Bring one more welcome than the morn,

Or still in night’s dark prison stay.