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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Arthur Joseph Munby (1828–1910)

Doris: A Pastoral

I SAT with Doris, the shepherd-maiden—

Her crook was laden with wreathèd flowers;

I sat and wooed her, through sunlight wheeling

And shadows stealing, for hours and hours.

And she, my Doris, whose lap incloses

Wild summer-roses of sweet perfume,

The while I sued her, kept hushed and hearkened,

Till shades had darkened from gloss to gloom.

She touched my shoulder with fearful finger;

She said, “We linger,—we must not stay:

My flock’s in danger, my sheep will wander;

Behold them yonder, how far they stray!”

I answered bolder, “Nay, let me hear you,

And still be near you, and still adore!

No wolf nor stranger will touch one yearling:

Ah! stay, my darling, a moment more!”

She whispered, sighing; “There will be sorrow

Beyond to-morrow, if I lose to-day:

My fold unguarded, my flock unfolded,

I shall be scolded and sent away.”

Said I, denying, “If they do miss you,

They ought to kiss you when you get home;

And well rewarded by friend and neighbor

Should be the labor from which you come.”

“They might remember,” she answered meekly,

“That lambs are weakly, and sheep are wild;

But if they love me, it’s none so fervent,—

I am a servant, and not a child.”

Then each hot ember glowed within me,

And love did win me to swift reply:—

“Ah! do but prove me; and none shall bind you,

Nor fray nor find you, until I die.”

She blushed and started, and stood awaiting,

As if debating in dreams divine:

But I did brave them; I told her plainly

She doubted vainly,—she must be mine.

So we, twin-hearted, from all the valley

Did rouse and rally her nibbling ewes;

And homeward drave them, we two together,

Through blooming heather and gleaming dews.

That simple duty fresh grace did lend her,

My Doris tender, my Doris true;

That I, her warder, did always bless her,

And often press her to take her due.

And now in beauty she fills my dwelling

With love excelling and undefiled;

And love doth guard her, both fast and fervent,—

No more a servant, nor yet a child.