Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
From ‘A Vision of Oxford’
By William Alexander, Archbishop of Armagh (1824–1911)
 
METHOUGHT I met a Lady yester even;
  A passionless grief, that had nor tear nor wail,
Sat on her pure proud face, that gleam’d to Heaven
        White as a moonlit sail.
 
She spake: ‘On this pale brow are looks of youth,        5
  Yet angels listening on the argent floor
Know that these lips have been proclaiming truth
        Nine hundred years and more;
 
‘And Isis knows what time-grey towers rear’d up,
  Gardens and groves and cloister’d halls are mine;        10
When quaff my sons from many a myrrhine cup
        Draughts of ambrosial wine.
 
‘He knows how night by night my lamps are lit,
  How day by day my bells are ringing clear,—
Mother of ancient lore and Attic wit        15
        And discipline severe.
 
‘And I have led my children on steep mountains
  By fine attraction of my spirit brought
Up to the dark inexplicable fountains
        That are the springs of thought:        20
 
‘Led them, where on the old poetic shore
  The flowers that change not with the changing moon
Breathe round young hearts, as breathes the sycamore
        About the bees in June.
 
‘And I will bear them as on eagle’s wings,        25
  To leave them bow’d before the sapphire Throne,
High o’er the haunts where dying Pleasure sings
        With sweet and swan-like tone.
 
‘And I will lead the age’s great expansions,
  Progressive circles t’ward thought’s Sabbath rest,        30
And point beyond them to the many mansions
        Where Christ is with the blest.
 
 
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