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

Thomas Hood 1799–1845

The Water Lady


ALAS, the moon should ever beam

To show what man should never see!

I saw a maiden on a stream,

And fair was she!

I stayed awhile, to see her throw

Her tresses back, that all beset

The fair horizon of her brow

With clouds of jet.

I stayed a little while to view

Her cheek, that wore in place of red

The bloom of water, tender blue,

Daintily spread.

I stayed to watch, a little space,

Her parted lips if she would sing;

The waters clos’d above her face

With many a ring.

And still I stayed a little more:

Alas, she never comes again!

I throw my flowers from the shore,

And watch in vain.

I know my life will fade away,

I know that I must vainly pine,

For I am made of mortal clay,

But she’s divine!