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

William Bell Scott 1811–90


“MISTRESS of gods and men! I have been thine

From boy to man, and many a myrtle rod

Have I made grow upon thy sacred sod,

Nor ever have I pass’d thy white shafts nine

Without some votive offering for the shrine,

Carv’d beryl or chas’d bloodstone;—aid me now,

And I will live to fashion for thy brow

Heart-breaking priceless things: oh, make her mine.”

Venus inclin’d her ear, and through the Stone

Forthwith slid warmth like spring through sapling-stems,

And lo, the eyelid stirr’d, beneath had grown

The tremulous light of life, and all the hems

Of her zon’d peplos shook. Upon his breast

She sank, by two dread gifts at once oppress’d.