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

Thomas Ashe 1836–89


MY days are full of pleasant memories

Of all those women sweet,

Whom I have known! How tenderly their eyes

Flash thro’ the days—too fleet!—

Which long ago went by with sun and rain,

Flowers, or the winter snow;

And still thro’ memory’s palace-halls are fain

In rustling robes to go!

Or wed, or widow’d, or with milkless breasts,

Around those women stand,

Like mists that linger on the mountain crests

Rear’d in a phantom land;

And love is in their mien and in their look,

And from their lips a stream

Of tender words flows, smooth as any brook,

And softer than a dream:

And, one by one, holding my hands, they say

Things of the years agone;

And each head will a little turn away,

And each one still sigh on;

Because they think such meagre joy we had;

For love was little bold,

And youth had store, and chances to be glad,

And squander’d so his gold.

Blue eyes, and gray, and blacker than the sloe,

And dusk and golden hair,

And lips that broke in kisses long ago,

Like sun-kiss’d flowers, are there;

And warm fire-side, and sunny orchard wall,

And river-brink and bower,

And wood and hill, and morning and day-fall,

And every place and hour!

And each on each a white unclouded brow

Still as a sister bends,

As they would say, “love makes us kindred now,

Who sometime were his friends.”