Sunday, June 20, 2010


Pleasant discoveries await you if you wander the byways of Victorian poetry.  Yes, you will come upon poems that seem to fit what may be called the "Victorian" stereotype.  But you may be surprised at what else you encounter.  The following poem is by A. Mary F. Robinson (1857-1944).


I watch the happier people of the house
   Come in and out, and talk, and go their ways;
I sit and gaze at them; I cannot rouse
   My heavy mind to share their busy days.

I watch them glide, like skaters on a stream,
   Across the brilliant surface of the world.
But I am underneath: they do not dream
   How deep below the eddying flood is whirl'd.

They cannot come to me, nor I to them;
   But, if a mightier arm could reach and save,
Should I forget the tide I had to stem?
   Should I, like these, ignore the abysmal wave?

Yes! in the radiant air how could I know
How black it is, how fast it is, below?

                     William Holman Hunt, "Our English Coasts" (1852)

No comments: