Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Her Pity

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

Philip Bourke Marston 1850–87

Her Pity

THIS is the room to which she came that day,—

Came when the dusk was falling cold and gray,—

Came with soft step, in delicate array,

And sat beside me in the firelight there;

And, like a rose of perfume rich and rare,

Thrill’d with her sweetness the environing air.

We heard the grind of traffic in the street,

The clamorous calls, the beat of passing feet,

The wail of bells that in the twilight meet.

Then I knelt down, and dar’d to touch her hand,—

Those slender fingers, and the shining band

Of happy gold wherewith her wrist was spann’d.

Her radiant beauty made my heart rejoice;

And then she spoke, and her low, pitying voice

Was like the soft, pathetic, tender noise

Of winds that come before a summer rain:

Once leap’d the blood in every clamorous vein;

Once leap’d my heart, then, dumb, stood still again.