Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895.  1895.
 
To My Brothers
 
Norman Gale (b. 1862)
 
 
O BROTHERS, who must ache and stoop
  O’er wordy tasks in London town,
How scantly Laura trips for you—
  A poem in a gown!
How rare if Grub-street grew a lawn!        5
  How sweet if Nature’s lap could spare
A dandelion for the Strand,
  A cowslip for Mayfair!
 
But here, from immaterial lyres,
  There rings in easy confidence        10
The blackbird’s bright philosophy
  On apple-spray or fence:
For ploughmen wending home from toil
  Some patriot thrush outpours his lay,
And voices, wildly eloquent,        15
  The diary of his day.
 
These living lyrics you may hear
  Remembering the lane’s romance,
All hung in wicker heels to chirp
  Thin ghosts of utterance:        20
But where the gusts of liberty
  Make Ragged Robin wisely bend,
They quicken hedgerows with their song,
  Melodiously unpenned.
 
If souls of mighty singers leave        25
  The vacant body to its hush,
Does Shelley linger in the lark,
  Or Keats possess the thrush?
The end is undecaying doubt,
  And in some blackbird’s bosom still        30
Great Tennyson may sweeten eve
  And whistle on the hill.
 
Come, brothers, to this clean delight,
  And watch the velvet-headed tit.
Here ’s honest sorrel in the grass        35
  And sturdy cuckoo-spit:
What shepherds hear you shall not miss,
  And at deliverance of dawn
Shall see a miracle of bloom
  Across the sparkling lawn.        40
 
The forest musically begs
  To fan you with its leafy love;
Oh, fall asleep upon this moss
  Entreated by the dove!
Here shall that sweet Conservative,        45
  Dear Mother Nature, lend to you
Her lovely rural elements
  Beneath the primal blue.
 
O brothers, who must ache and stoop
  O’er wordy tasks in London town,        50
How scantly Laura trips for you—
  A poem in a gown!
How good if Fleet-street grew a lawn!
  How sweet if garden-plots could spare
A bed of cloves to scent the Strand,        55
  A pansy for Mayfair!
 

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