Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  My Beautiful Lady

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

Thomas Woolner b. 1825

My Beautiful Lady

I LOVE my Lady; she is very fair;

Her brow is wan, and bound by simple hair;

Her spirit sits aloof, and high,

But glances from her tender eye

In sweetness droopingly.

As a young forest while the wind drives through,

My life is stirr’d when she breaks on my view;

Her beauty grants my will no choice

But silent awe, till she rejoice

My longing with her voice.

Her warbling voice, though ever low and mild,

Oft makes me feel as strong wine would a child;

And though her hand be airy light

Of touch, it moves me with its might,

As would a sudden fright.

A hawk high pois’d in air, whose nerv’d wing-tips

Tremble with might suppress’d, before he dips,

In vigilance, scarce more intense

Than I, when her voice holds my sense

Contented in suspense.

Her mention of a thing, august or poor,

Makes it far nobler than it was before:

As where the sun strikes life will gush,

And what is pale receive a flush,

Rich hues, a richer blush.

My Lady’s name, when I hear strangers use,

Not meaning her, to me sounds lax misuse;

I love none but my Lady’s name;

Moud, Grace, Rose, Marian, all the same,

Are harsh, or blank and tame.

My Lady walks as I have watch’d a swan

Swim where a glory on the water shone:

There ends of willow braches ride,

Quivering in the flowing tide,

By the deep river’s side.

Fresh beauties, howsoe’er she moves, are stirr’d:

As the sunn’d bosom of a humming bird

At each pant lifts some fiery hue,

Fierce gold, bewildering green or blue;

The same, yet ever new.