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

Thomas Burbidge b. 1816

If I Desire

IF I desire with pleasant songs

To throw a merry hour away,

Comes Love unto me, and my wrongs

In careful tale he doth display,

And asks me how I stand for singing

While I my helpless hands am wringing.

And then another time if I

A noon in shady bower would pass,

Comes he with stealthy gestures sly

And flinging down upon the grass,

Quoth he to me: My master dear,

Think of this noontide such a year!

And if elsewhere I lay my head

On pillow with intent to sleep,

Lies Love beside me on the bed,

And gives me ancient words to keep;

Says he: These looks, these tokens number,

May be, they ’ll help you to a slumber.

So every time when I would yield

An hour to quiet, comes he still;

And hunts up every sign conceal’d

And every outward sign of ill;

And gives me his sad face’s pleasures

For merriment’s or sleep’s or leisure’s.