Verse > Anthologies > Louis Untermeyer, ed. > Modern British Poetry
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Louis Untermeyer, ed. (1885–1977). Modern British Poetry.  1920.
 
Ralph Hodgson. 
 
108. Eve
 
EVE, with her basket, was 
Deep in the bells and grass, 
Wading in bells and grass 
Up to her knees. 
Picking a dish of sweet         5
Berries and plums to eat, 
Down in the bells and grass 
Under the trees. 
  
Mute as a mouse in a 
Corner the cobra lay,  10
Curled round a bough of the 
Cinnamon tall.... 
Now to get even and 
Humble proud heaven and 
Now was the moment or  15
Never at all. 
  
"Eva!" Each syllable 
Light as a flower fell, 
"Eva!" he whispered the 
Wondering maid,  20
Soft as a bubble sung 
Out of a linnet's lung, 
Soft and most silverly 
"Eva!" he said. 
  
Picture that orchard sprite;  25
Eve, with her body white, 
Supple and smooth to her 
Slim finger tips; 
Wondering, listening, 
Listening, wondering,  30
Eve with a berry 
Half-way to her lips. 
  
Oh, had our simple Eve 
Seen through the make-believe! 
Had she but known the  35
Pretender he was! 
Out of the boughs he came, 
Whispering still her name, 
Tumbling in twenty rings 
Into the grass.  40
  
Here was the strangest pair 
In the world anywhere, 
Eve in the bells and grass 
Kneeling, and he 
Telling his story low....  45
Singing birds saw them go 
Down the dark path to 
The Blasphemous Tree. 
  
Oh, what a clatter when 
Titmouse and Jenny Wren  50
Saw him successful and 
Taking his leave! 
How the birds rated him, 
How they all hated him! 
How they all pitied  55
Poor motherless Eve! 
  
Picture her crying 
Outside in the lane, 
Eve, with no dish of sweet 
Berries and plums to eat,  60
Haunting the gate of the 
Orchard in vain.... 
Picture the lewd delight 
Under the hill to-night— 
"Eva!" the toast goes round,  65
"Eva!" again. 
 
 
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