Home  »  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895  »  To ——

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

Alexander Smith 1829–67

To ——

THE BROKEN moon lay in the autumn sky,

And I lay at thy feet;

You bent above me; in the silence I

Could hear my wild heart beat.

I spoke; my soul was full of trembling fears

At what my words would bring:

You rais’d your face, your eyes were full of tears,

As the sweet eyes of Spring.

You kiss’d me then, I worshipp’d at thy feet

Upon the shadowy sod.

Oh, fool, I lov’d thee! lov’d thee, lovely cheat!

Better than Fame or God.

My soul leap’d up beneath thy timid kiss;

What then to me were groans,

Or pain, or death? Earth was a round of bliss,

I seem’d to walk on thrones.

And you were with me ’mong the rushing wheels,

’Mid Trade’s tumultuous jars;

And where to awe-struck wilds the Night reveals

Her hollow gulfs of stars.

Before your window, as before a shrine,

I ’ve knelt ’mong dew-soak’d flowers,

While distant music-bells, with voices fine,

Measur’d the midnight hours.

There came a fearful moment: I was pale,

You wept, and never spoke,

But clung around me as the woodbine frail

Clings, pleading, round an oak.

Upon my wrong I steadied up my soul,

And flung thee from myself;

I spurn’d thy love as ’t were a rich man’s dole,—

It was my only wealth.

I spurn’d thee! I, who lov’d thee, could have died,

That hop’d to call thee “wife,”

And bear thee, gently-smiling at my side,

Through all the shocks of life!

Too late, thy fatal beauty and thy tears,

Thy vows, thy passionate breath;

I ’ll meet thee not in Life, nor in the spheres

Made visible by Death.