Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Given Over

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

Thomas Woolner b. 1825

Given Over

THE MEN of learning say she must

Soon pass, and be as if she had not been.

To gratify the barren lust

Of Death, the roses in her cheeks are seen

To blush so brightly, blooming deeper damascene.

All hope and doubt, all fears, are vain:

The dreams I nurs’d of honoring her are past,

And will not comfort me again.

I see a lurid sunlight throw its last

Wild gleam athwart the land whose shadows lengthen fast.

It does not seem so dreadful now,

The horror stands out naked, stark, and still;

I am quite calm, and wonder how

My terror play’d such mad pranks with my will.

The north winds fiercely blow, I do not feel them chill.

All things must die: somewhere I read

What wise and solemn men pronounce of joy;

No sooner born, they say, than dead;

The strife of being, but a whirling toy

Humming a weary moan spun by capricious boy.

Has my soul reach’d a starry height

Majestically calm? No monster, drear

And shapeless, glares me faint at night;

I am not in the sunshine check’d for fear

That monstrous, shapeless thing is somewhere crouching near?

No; woe is me! far otherwise:

The naked horror numbs me to the bone;

In stupor calm its cold, blank eyes

Set hard at mine. I do not fall or groan,

Our island Gorgon’s face has changed me into stone.