Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  Sonnets from “A Lover’s Diary.” IV. Invincible

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

Sir Gilbert Parker 1862–1932

Sonnets from “A Lover’s Diary.” IV. Invincible


WHY, let them rail! God’s full anointed ones

Have heard the world exclaim, “We know you not!”

They who by their soul’s travailing have brought

Us nearer to the wonder of the suns.

Yet, who can stay the passage of the stars?

Who can prevail against the thundersound?

The wire that flashes lightning to the ground

Diverts, but not its potency debars.

So, men may strike quick stabs at Cæsar’s worth,—

They only make his life an endless force,

’Scaped from its penthouse, flashing through the earth,

And whelming those who railed about his corse.

Men’s moods disturb not those born truly great:

They know their end; they can afford to wait.


WHEN you and I have played the little hour,

Have seen the tall subaltern Life to Death

Yield up his sword; and, smiling, draw the breath,

The first long breath of freedom; when the flower

Of Recompense hath fluttered to our feet,

As to an actor’s; and the curtain down,

We turn to face each other all alone—

Alone, we two, who never yet did meet,

Alone, and absolute, and free: oh, then,

Oh, then, most dear, how shall be told the tale?

Clasped hands, pressed lips, and so clasped hands again;

No words. But as the proud wind fills the sail,

My love to yours shall reach, then one deep moan

Of joy; and then our infinite Alone.