Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Renunciants

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

Edward Dowden 1843–1913



SEEMS not our breathing light?

Sound not our voices free?

Bid to Life’s festal bright

No gladder guests there be.

Ah stranger, lay aside

Cold prudence! I divine

The secret you would hide,

And you conjecture mine.

You too have temperate eyes,

Have put your heart to school,

Are prov’d. I recognize

A brother of the rule.

I knew it by your lip,

A something when you smil’d,

Which meant “close scholarship,

A master of the guild.”

Well, and how good is life;

Good to be born, have breath,

The calms good, and the strife,

Good life, and perfect death.

Come, for the dancers wheel,

Join we the pleasant din,—

Comrade, it serves to feel

The sackcloth next the skin.