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

Austin Dobson 1840–1921

To a Greek Girl


WITH breath of thyme and bees that hum,

Across the years you seem to come,—

Across the years with nymph-like head,

And wind-blown brows unfilleted;

A girlish shape that slips the bud

In lines of unspoiled symmetry;

A girlish shape that stirs the blood

With pulse of Spring, Autonoë!

Where’er you pass,—where’er you go,

I hear the pebbly rillet flow;

Where’er you go,—where’er you pass,

There comes a gladness on the grass;

You bring blithe airs where’er you tread,—

Blithe airs that blow from down and sea;

You wake in me a Pan not dead,—

Not wholly dead!—Autonoë!

How sweet with you on some green sod

To wreathe the rustic garden-god;

How sweet beneath the chestnut’s shade

With you to weave a basket-braid;

To watch across the stricken chords

Your rosy-twinkling fingers flee;

To woo you in soft woodland words,

With woodland pipe, Autonoë!

In vain,—in vain! The years divide:

Where Thamis rolls a murky tide,

I sit and fill my painful reams,

And see you only in my dreams;—

A vision, like Alcestis, brought

From under-lands of Memory,—

A dream of Form in days of Thought,—

A dream,—a dream, Autonoë!