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Oh, little thought that lady proud,
And silk was changed for shroud!
Nor thought that gardener, (full of scorns
By creeping through the thorns!
To me upon my low moss seat,
I ween they smelt as sweet.
It did not move my grief to see
The blither place for me!
Friends, blame me not! a narrow ken
We feel the gladness then.
And gladdest hours for me did glide
Upon the other side.
Nor he nor I did e'er incline
Lead lives as glad as mine?
To make my hermit-home complete,
And cresses glossy wet.
The Deserted Garden
And so, I thought, my likeness grew
And Angelina too.
For oft I read within my nook
And then I shut the book.
If I shut this wherein I write,
Delighting in delight.
My childhood from my life is parted,
The garden is deserted.
Another thrush may there rehearse
Do sing a sadder verse.
Ah me, ah me! when erst I lay
“The time will pass away.”
And still I laughed, and did not fear
My womanhood would cheer.
I knew the time would pass away,
Did I look up to pray!
The time is past; and now that grows
As well as the white rose,
When graver, meeker thoughts are given,
The color draws from heaven,
It something saith for earthly pain,
Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861]
A FORSAKEN GARDEN
In a coign of the cliff between lowland and highland,
At the sea-down's edge between windward and lee,
The ghost of a garden fronts the sea.
The steep, square slope of the blossomless bed
Now lie dead.
To the low last edge of the long lone land.
Would a ghost not rise at the strange guest's hand? So long have the gray, bare walks lain guestless,
Through branches and briers if a man make way, He shall find no life but the sea-wind's, restless
Night and day.
The dense, hard passage is blind and stifled
That crawls by a track none turn to climb
Of all but the thorns that are touched not of Time.
A Forsaken Garden
The thorns he spares when the rose is taken;
The rocks are left when he wastes the plain. The wind that wanders, the weeds wind-shaken,
Not a flower to be pressed of the foot that falls not;
As the heart of a dead man the seed-plots are dry; From the thicket of thorns whence the nightingale calls not,
Could she call, there were never a rose to reply. Over the meadows that blossom and wither
Rings but the note of a sea-bird's song; Only the sun and the rain come hither
All year long.
The sun burns sere and the rain dishevels
One gaunt bleak blossom of scentless breath.
In a round where life seems barren as death.
Haply, of lovers none ever will know,
Heart handfast in heart as they stood, “Look thither,”
sea; For the foam-flowers endure when the rose-blossoms wither,
And men that love lightly may die—but we?”
And or ever the garden's last petals were shed,
Love was dead. Or they loved their life through, and then went whither?
And were one to the end—but what end who knows?
As the rose-red seaweed that mocks the rose.
What love was ever as deep as a grave?
Or the wave.
All are at one now, roses and lovers,
Not known of the cliffs and the fields and the sea.
In the air now soft with a summer to be.
Of the flowers or the lovers that laugh now or weep, When, as they that are free now of weeping and laughter,
We shall sleep.
Here death may deal not again forever;'
Here change may come not till all change end. From the graves they have made they shall rise up never,
Who have left naught living to ravage and rend. Earth, stones, and thorns of the wild ground growing,
While the sun and the rain live, these shall be; Till a last wind's breath, upon all these blowing,
Roll the sea.
Till the slow sea rise and the sheer cliff crumble,
Till terrace and meadow the deep gulfs drink,
The fields that lessen, the rocks that shrink;
Stretched out on the spoils that his own hand spread,
Algernon Charles Swinburne (1837-1909]
GREEN THINGS GROWING
O THE green things growing, the green things growing,
O the fluttering and the pattering of those green things
growing! How they talk each to each, when none of us are knowing; In the wonderful white of the weird moonlight Or the dim dreamy dawn when the cocks are crowing.