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

Andrew Lang 1844–1912

On Calais Sands


ON Calais Sands the gray began,

Then rosy red above they gray;

The morn with many a scarlet van

Leaped, and the world was glad with May!

The little waves along the bay

Broke white upon the shelving strands;

The sea-mews flitted white as they

On Calais Sands!

On Calais Sands must man with man

Wash honor clean in blood to-day;

On spaces wet from waters wan

How white the flashing rapiers play,—

Parry, riposte! and lunge! The fray

Shifts for a while, then mournful stands

The Victor: life ebbs fast away

On Calais Sands!

On Calais Sands a little space

Of silence, then the plash and spray,

The sound of eager waves that ran

To kiss the perfumed locks astray,

To touch these lips that ne’er said “Nay,”

To dally with the helpless hands,

Till the deep sea in silence lay

On Calais Sands!

Between the lilac and the may

She waits her love from alien lands;

Her love is colder than the clay

On Calais Sands!