Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

Let Us Fly! - Poem by Alfred Austin

Let us fly! It is long past eleven;
The watch-dogs are silent; the moon
Hath all but abandoned the heaven,
And midnight is sinking in swoon.
Not a chirp to be heard in the thicket;
The kine are asleep in the byre;
All is hushed; here I stand at the wicket,
Alone, with my pulses on fire.

There! silently close you the lattice!
Now daintily drop we the latch!
What is that? O my pretty one! that is
A sparrow that moved in the thatch.
Quick! a hasty foot over the orchard!
The horses are saddled beyond.
To-night 'tis our fate to be tortured,
To-morrow night nothing but fond!

Yet I pause. O my Mabel! my beauty!
If they who sleep tranquil within
But knew how Love wrestles with Duty,
They weakness would call it, not sin!
If they, the calm clients of virtue,
But once on your bosom had throbbed,
They would swear 'twas a crime to desert you,
And pardon the felon that robbed.

No! Sooner the shade of the cypress
Stretch premature over your tomb,
Than the tread of the slanderous vipress,
Should, pitiless, darken your doom!
And in the last Grand Accusation
For selfishness, falsehood, or sloth,
This act of sublime abnegation
Shall, trumpet-tongued, plead for us both

Giacomo! back to the stable;
I shan't want the horses to-night.
And see you be gentle with Mabel;
It is not her temper, but fright.
Soft and warm, deep and broad, be her litter,
And her mane most caressingly curled.

O God! love is sweet, loss is bitter,
And I am alone in the world!

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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010

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