Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Salopia Inhospitalis

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

Douglas B. W. Sladen b. 1856

Salopia Inhospitalis

TOUCH not that maid:

She is a flower, and changeth but to fade.

Fragrant is she, and fair

As any shape that haunts this lower air;

In form as graceful and as free

As honeysuckles and the lilies be;

Insensible, and shrinking from caress

As flowers, which you peril when you press.

Gaze not on her;

She is a being of another sphere.

Brilliant is she, and bright

As any star illuminate at night;

Of stuff as sober and as fine

As hers whose glory through the moon doth shine;

Unliker to come down to this thy love

Than any orb that ’s fixed for aye above.

Heed her no more:

She is a gem whose heart thou canst not bore;

Glistering is she, and grand

As any stone that decks a monarch’s hand;

In face as free from flaw or stain

As diamond from mine, or pearl from main:

But she thy fire and fever never felt,

For adamant can neither waste nor melt.