Friday, November 4, 2011

"The Bourne"

It was a rare Victorian poet who did not write at least one poem about the plot of earth towards which we are headed.  A melancholy prospect, it would seem.  Yet, more than a few of the poets take the view that our shared destination is one in which peace, quiet, and rest await us at last.  Take heart!  (Or so they say.)

                The Bourne

Underneath the growing grass,
   Underneath the living flowers,
   Deeper than the sound of showers:
   There we shall not count the hours
By the shadows as they pass.

Youth and health will be but vain,
   Beauty reckoned of no worth:
   There a very little girth
   Can hold round what once the earth
Seemed too narrow to contain.

William Rossetti (editor), The Poetical Works of Christina Rossetti (1904).

                        Edward Bawden, "Lindsell Church, Essex" (1956)

                      Epitaph

He roamed half round this world of woe,
   Where toil and labour never cease;
Then dropped one little span below,
   In search of Peace.

And now to him mild beams and showers,
   All that he needs to grace his tomb,
From loneliest regions, at all hours,
   Unsought-for come.

Aubrey de Vere (1814-1902), Poems (1855).

                  Edward Bawden, "The Canmore Mountain Range" (1950)

                       Spring Song

Dance, yellows and whites and reds, --
Lead your gay orgy, leaves, stalks, heads
Astir with the wind in the tulip-beds!

There's sunshine; scarcely a wind at all
Disturbs starved grass and daisies small
On a certain mound by a churchyard wall.

Daisies and grass be my heart's bedfellows
On the mound wind spares and sunshine mellows:
Dance you, reds and whites and yellows!

Robert Browning, The New Amphion (1886).

                      John Everett Millais, "The Vale of Rest" (1858-1859)

2 comments:

gists said...

These are very sweet!

Stephen Pentz said...

Mr. MacLaurin: thank you very much for visiting. I'm pleased that you like the poems, and I appreciate your taking the time to comment.