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

Frederick Locker-Lampson 1821–95

To My Mistress

COUNTESS, I see the flying year,

And feel how Time is wasting here:

Ay, more, he soon his worst will do,

And garner all your roses too.

It pleases Time to fold his wings

Around our best and fairest things;

He’ll mar your blooming cheek, as now

He stamps his mark upon my brow.

The same mute planets rise and shine

To rule your days and nights as mine:

Once I was young and gay, and, see…

What I am now you soon will be.

And yet I boast a certain charm

That shields me from your worst alarm;

And bids me gaze, with front sublime,

On all these ravages of Time.

You boast a gift to charm the eyes,

I boast a gift that Time defies:

For mine will still be mine, and last

When all your pride of beauty’s past.

My gift may long embalm the lures

Of eyes—ah, sweet to me as yours!

For ages hence the great and good

Will judge you as I choose they should.

In days to come, the peer or clown,

With whom I still shall win renown,

Will only know that you were fair

Because I chanced to say you were.

Proud Lady! Scornful beauty mocks

At aged heads and silver locks;

But think awhile before you fly,

Or spurn a poet such as I.