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

Michael Field



THE IRIS was yellow, the moon was pale,

In the air it was stiller than snow,

There was even light through the vale,

But a vaporous sheet

Clung about my feet,

And I dared no further go.

I had passed the pond, I could see the stile,

The path was plain for more than a mile,

Yet I dared no further go.

The iris-beds shone in my face, when, whist!

A noiseless music began to blow,

A music that moved through the mist,

That had not begun,

Would never be done,—

With that music I must go:

And I found myself in the heart of the tune,

Wheeling around to the whirr of the moon,

With the sheets of the mist below.

In my hands how warm were the little hands,

Strange, little hands that I did not know:

I did not think of the elvan bands,

Nor of anything

In that whirling ring—

Here a cock began to crow!

The little hands dropped that had clung so tight,

And I saw again by the pale dawnlight

The iris-heads in a row.