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

Aubrey Thomas De Vere b. 1814

To Imperia

THOU art not, and thou never canst be mine;

The die of fate for me is thrown,

And thou art made

No more to me than some resplendent shade

Flung on the canvas by old art divine;

Or vision of shap’d stone;

Or the far glory of some starry sign

Which hath a beauty unapproachable

To aught but sight,—a throne

High in the heavens and out of reach;

Therefore with this low speech

I bid thee now a long and last farewell

Ere I depart, in busy crowds to dwell,

Yet be alone.

All pleasures of this pleasant Earth be thine!

Yea, let her servants fondly press

Unto thy feet,

Bearing all sights most fair, all scents most sweet:

Spring, playing with her wreath of budded vine;

Summer, with stately tress

Prink’d with green wheat-ears and the white corn-bine;

And Autumn, crown’d from the yellow forest-tree;

—And Winter, in his dress

Begemm’d with icicles, from snow dead-white

Shooting their wondrous light;

These be thine ever. But I ask of thee

One blessing only to beseech for me,—