Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  In the Wood

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

Herbert Edwin Clarke b. 1852

In the Wood

THROUGH laughing leaves the sunlight comes,

Turning the green to gold;

The bee about the heather hums,

And the morning air is cold

Here on the breezy woodland side,

Where we two ride.

Through laughing leaves on golden hair

The sunlight glances down,

And makes a halo round her there,

And crowns her with a crown

Queen of the sunrise and the sun,

As we ride on.

The wanton wind has kissed her face,—

His lips have left a rose,—

He found her cheek so sweet a place

For kisses, I suppose,

He thought he ’d leave a sign, that so

Others might know.

The path grows narrower as we ride,

The green boughs close above,

And overhead, and either side,

The wild birds sing of Love:

But ah, she is not listening

To what they sing!

Till I take up the wild-birds’ song,

And word by word unfold

Its meaning as we ride along,—

And when my tale is told,

I turn my eyes to hers again,—

And then,—and then,—

(The bridle path more narrow grows,

The leaves shut out the sun;)

Where the wind’s lips left their one rose

My own leave more than one:

While the leaves murmur up above,

And laugh for love.

This was the place;—you see the sky

Now ’twixt the branches bare;

About the path the dead leaves lie,

And songless is the air;—

All ’s changed since then, for that, you know,

Was long ago.

Let us ride on! The wind is cold,—

Let us ride on—ride fast!—

’T is winter, and we knew of old

That love could never last

Without the summer and the sun!—

Let us ride on!