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

William Canton b. 1845


IN the heart of the white summer mist lay a green little piece of the world;

And the tops of the beeches were lost in the mist, and the mist ringed us round;

All the low leaves were silvered with dew, and the herbage with dew was impearled;

And the turmoil of life was but vaguely divined through the mist as a sound.

In the heart of the mist there was warmth, for the soil full of sun was aglow,

Like a fruit when it colors,—and fragrance from flowers, and a scent from the soil;

And a lamb in the grass, in the flowers, in the dew, nibbled, whiter than snow;

And the white summer mist was a fold for us both against sorrow and toil.

From the fields in the mist came a bleating, a sound as of longing and need:

But the lamb from the grass in its little green heaven never lifted its head:

It was innocent, whiter than snow; it was glad in the flowers, took no heed;

But the sound from the fields in the mist made me grieve as for one that is dead.

And behold! ’t was a dream I had dreamed, and a voice made me wake with a start,

Saying: “Hark! once again in the flesh shall ye twain live your life for a span;

But since whiteness of snow is as nought in mine eyes without pity of heart,

Lo! the lamb shall be born as a wolf, with a wolf’s heart, but thou as a man!”