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.
 
Companions
 
Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–84)
 
 
A Tale of a Grandfather
 
 
I KNOW not of what we ponder’d
  Or made pretty pretence to talk,
As, her hand within mine, we wander’d
  Tow’rd the pool by the lime-tree walk,
While the dew fell in showers from the passion flowers        5
  And the blush-rose bent on her stalk.
 
I cannot recall her figure:
  Was it regal as Juno’s own?
Or only a trifle bigger
  Than the elves who surround the throne        10
Of the Faëry Queen, and are seen, I ween,
  By mortals in dreams alone?
 
What her eyes were like I know not:
  Perhaps they were blurr’d with tears;
And perhaps in you skies there glow not        15
  (On the contrary) clearer spheres.
No! as to her eyes I am just as wise
  As you or the cat, my dears.
 
Her teeth, I presume, were “pearly:”
  But which was she, brunette or blonde?        20
Her hair, was it quaintly curly,
  Or as straight as a beadle’s wand?
That I fail’d to remark: it was rather dark
  And shadowy round the pond.
 
Then the hand that repos’d so snugly        25
  In mine,—was it plump or spare?
Was the countenance fair or ugly?
  Nay, children, you have me there!
My eyes were p’haps blurr’d; and besides I ’d heard
  That it ’s horribly rude to stare.        30
 
And I,—was I brusque and surly?
  Or oppressively bland and fond?
Was I partial to rising early?
  Or why did we twain abscond,
When nobody knew, from the public view        35
  To prowl by a misty pond?
 
What pass’d, what was felt or spoken,—
  Whether anything pass’d at all,—
And whether the heart was broken
  That beat under that shelt’ring shawl,—        40
(If shawl she had on, which I doubt),—has gone,
  Yes, gone from me past recall.
 
Was I haply the lady’s suitor?
  Or her uncle? I can’t make out;
Ask your governess, dears, or tutor.        45
  For myself, I ’m in hopeless doubt
As to why we were there, who on earth we were,
  And what this is all about.
 

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