A touch of culture!

Poetry really came of age during the Victorian era, so here is a small selection of love poetry by authors of the era.

victorian_romance_infranThe Girl I Love

The girl I love is comely, straight, and tall, 
Down her white neck her auburn tresses fall. 
Her dress is neat, her carriage light and free 
Here’s a health to that charming maid, whoe’er she be!

The rose’s blush but fades beside her cheek; 
Her eyes are blue, her forehead pale and meek; 
Her lips like cherries on a summer tree 
Here’s a health to that charming maid, whoe’er she be!

When I go to the field no youth can lighter bound, 
And I freely pay when the cheerful jug goes round; 
The barrel is full, but its heart we soon shall see, 
Here’s a health to that charming maid, whoe’er she be!

Had I the wealth that props the Saxon’s reign,
Or the diamond crown that decks the King of Spain,
I’d yield them all if she kindly smiled on me, 
Here’s a health to the maid I love, whoe’er she be!

Five pounds of gold for each lock of her hair I’d pay, 
And five times five for my love one hour each day; 
Her voice is more sweet than the thrush on its own green tree; 
Then, my dear, may I drink a fond deep health to thee!

by Jeremiah Joseph Callanan

Nuptial Sleep

At length their long kiss severed with sweet smart: 
And as the last slow sudden drops are shed 
From sparkling eaves when all the storm has fled, 
So singly flagged the pulses of each heart. 
Their bosoms sundered, with the opening start 
Of married flowers to either side outspread 
From the knit stem; yet still their mouths, burnt red, Fawned on each other where they lay apart.

Sleep sank them lower than the tide of dreams, 
And their dreams watched them sink, and slid away. Slowly their souls swam up again, through gleams 
Of watered light and dull drowned waifs of day; 
Till from some wonder of new woods and streams 
He woke, and wondered more. For there she lay.

by Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The Gift

What can I give you, my lord, my lover, 
You who have given the world to me, 
Showed me the light and the joy that cover 
The wild sweet earth and the restless sea?

All that I have are gifts of your giving
If I give them again, you would find them old, 
And your soul would weary of always living 
Before the mirror my life would hold.

What shall I give you, my lord, my lover? 
The gift that breaks the heart in me: 
I bid you awake at dawn and discover 
I have gone my way and left you free.

by Sara Teesdale

He Remembers Forgotten Beauty

When my arms wrap you round I press 
My heart upon the loveliness 
That has long faded from the world; 
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled 
In shadowy pools, when armies fled; 
The love-tales wrought with silken thread 
By dreaming ladies upon cloth 
That has made fat the murderous moth; 
The roses that of old times were 
Woven by ladies in their hair, 
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore 
Through many a sacred corridor 
Where such grey clouds of incense rose 
That only God’s eyes did not close: 
For that pale breast and lingering hand 
Came from a more dream-heavy land, 
A more dream-heavy hour than this; 
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
I hear white Beauty sighing, too, 
For hours when all must fade like dew, 
But flame on flame, and deep on deep, 
Throne over throne where in half sleep, 
Their swords upon their iron knees, 
Brood her high lonely mysteries.

by W B. Yeats


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