To Vernon Lee

ON Bellosguardo, when the year was young,
  We wandered, seeking for the daffodil
And dark anemone, whose purples fill
The peasant's plot, between the corn-shoots sprung.

Over the grey, low wall the olive flung
Her deeper greyness ; far off, hill on hill
Sloped to the sky, which, pearly-pale and still,
Above the large and luminous landscape hung.

A snowy blackthorn flowered beyond my reach ;
You broke a branch and gave it to me there ;
I found for you a scarlet blossom rare.

Fiametta: A Sequence


BEHIND the Rector's lily-bed
  I saw an Angel pass,
A halo shone behind her head
  Behind the Rector's lily-bed,
It was the sun blushed fiery red.
  So very fair she was !
Behind the Rector's lily-bed
  I saw an Angel pass.


Fiametta is her name
  And she's the Rector's cousin,
But she shall be my flame !
  (Fiametta is her name).
The Rector's old and lame,
  Has daughters by the dozen,
Fiametta is her name

At a Dinner Party

WITH fruit and flowers the board is deckt,
  The wine and laughter flow ;
I'll not complain—could one expect
  So dull a world to know ?

You look across the fruit and flowers,
  My glance your glances find.—
It is our secret, only ours,
  Since all the world is blind.

New Love, New Life


SHE, who so long has lain
  Stone-stiff with folded wings,
Within my heart again
  The brown bird wakes and sings.

Brown nightingale, whose strain
  Is heard by day, by night,
She sings of joy and pain,
  Of sorrow and delight.


'Tis true,—in other days
  Have I unbarred the door ;
He knows the walks and ways—
  Love has been here before.

Love blest and love accurst
  Was here in days long past ;
This time is not the first,


My life is bitter with thy love ; thine eyes
Blind me, thy tresses burn me, thy sharp sighs
Divide my flesh and spirit with soft sound,
And my blood strengthens, and my veins abound.
I pray thee sigh not, speak not, draw not breath ;
Let life burn down, and dream it is not death.
I would the sea had hidden us, the fire
(Wilt thou fear that, and fear not my desire ?)
Severed the bones that bleach, the flesh that cleaves,
And let our sifted ashes drop like leaves.
I feel thy blood against my blood : my pain

In the Mile End Road

HOW like her ! But 'tis she herself,
  Comes up the crowded street,
How little did I think, the morn,
  My only love to meet !

Whose else that motion and that mien? 
  Whose else that airy tread ?
For one strange moment I forgot
  My only love was dead.

Goblin Market

MORNING and evening
Maids heard the goblins cry :
“Come buy our orchard fruits,
Come buy, come buy :
Apples and quinces,
Lemons and oranges,
Plump unpecked cherries,
Melons and raspberries,
Bloom-down-cheeked peaches,
Swart-headed mulberries,
Wild free-born cranberries,
Crab-apples, dewberries,
Pine-apples, blackberries,
Apricots, strawberries ;—
All ripe together
In summer weather,—
Morns that pass by,
Fair eves that fly ;
Come buy, come buy :

Sinfonia Eroica (To Sylvia)

MY Love, my Love, it was a day in June
A mellow, drowsy, golden afternoon ;
And all the eager people thronging came
To that great hall, drawn by the magic name
Of one, a high magician, who can raise
The spirits of the past and future days,
And draw the dreams from out the secret breast,
Giving them life and shape.
                         I, with the rest,
Sat there athirst, atremble for the sound ;
And as my aimless glances wandered round,
Far off, across the hush'd, expectant throng,

The World

BY day she wooes me, soft, exceeding fair :
  But all night as the moon so changeth she ;
  Loathsome and foul with hideous leprosy
And subtle serpents gliding in her hair.
By day she wooes me to the outer air,
  Ripe fruits, sweet flowers, and full satiety :
  But through the night, a beast she grins at me,
A very monster void of love and prayer.
By day she stands a lie : by night she stands
  In all the naked horror of the truth
With pushing horns and clawed and clutching hands.

To Sylvia

"O LOVE, lean thou thy cheek to mine,
And let the tears together flow"—
Such was the song you sang to me
              Once, long ago.

Such was the song you sang ; and yet
(O be not wroth !) I scarcely knew
What sounds flow'd forth; I only felt
               That you were you.

I scarcely knew your hair was gold,
Nor of the heavens' own blue your eyes.
Sylvia and song, divinely mixt,
               Made Paradise.

These things I scarcely knew ; to-day,
When love is lost and hope is fled,