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(18 January 1840 – 2 September 1921 / Plymouth)

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To A Greek Girl

WITH breath of thyme and bees that hum,
Across the years you seem to come,—
Across the years with nymph-like head,
And wind-blown brows unfilleted;
A girlish shape that slips the bud
In lines of unspoiled symmetry;
A girlish shape that stirs the blood
With pulse of Spring, Autonoe!

Where’er you pass,—where’er you go,
I hear the pebbly rillet flow;
Where’er you go,—where’er you pass,
There comes a gladness on the grass;
You bring blithe airs where’er you tread,—
Blithe airs that blow from down and sea;
You wake in me a Pan not dead,—
Not wholly dead!—Autonoe!

How sweet with you on some green sod
To wreathe the rustic garden-god;
How sweet beneath the chestnut’s shade
With you to weave a basket-braid;
To watch across the stricken chords
Your rosy-twinkling fingers flee;
To woo you in soft woodland words,
With woodland pipe, Autonoe!

In vain,—in vain! The years divide:
Where Thames rolls a murky tide,
I sit and fill my painful reams,
And see you only in my dreams;—
A vision, like Alcestis, brought
From under-lands of Memory,—
A dream of Form in days of Thought,—
A dream,—a dream, Autonoe!

Submitted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010


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