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.
 
The Lyre, II
By George Darley (1795–1846)
 
      LISTEN to the Lyre!
Listen to the knelling of its sweet-toned ditty!
Shrilly now as Pain resounds the various wire,
      Now as soft as Pity!
        Soft as Pity!        5
 
      Will the Dreamer know,
Who upon the melancholy harp loves weeping—
Dreamer, it is I that tell the tale of woe,
      Still while thou art sleeping,
        Thou art sleeping?        10
 
      Thrilling up the strings,
Down again to murmur of my own deep sorrow!
Raving o’er its bosom while the night-wind sings,
      Silent all the morrow!
        All the morrow!        15
 
      The deceitful breeze
Sighing here to imitate my song doth glory,
Weetless of my woes; it cannot tell thee these.
      Listen to my story!
        To my story!        20
 
      I was once the flower,
The all-belovèd lily of this sweet, sweet valley;
Every wooing Zephyr came to this green bower
      Fain and fond to dally!
        Fond to dally!        25
 
      I could love but one;
He had loved me ever, but the flood’s green daughters
With their siren music drew the sweet youth down,
      Down beneath the waters,
        ’Neath the waters!        30
 
      In the roaring wave
Like a silly maiden did I plunge down after,
Where amid the billows I was shown my grave
      With a hideous laughter!
        Hideous laughter!        35
 
      I was call’d above,
But I found no happiness in lone, lone Heaven;
So because I would not, could not, cease to love,
      Earthward I was driven,
        I was driven!        40
 
      Like a wingèd dream
Here amid the bowers of my youth I hover,
Wailing o’er my sorrows to the deep, chill stream
      Where I lost my lover,
        Lost my lover!        45
 
      In his oozy bed
Coffinless he slumbers, with the wild flood rolling:
Mermen are his ringers and his dirge is dread,
      Still for ever tolling!
        Ever tolling!        50
 
      Hearken to the knell!
Hear it through the booming of the loud-voiced billows!
Hear it how it dingles like a clear death-bell,
      Underneath the willows,
        ’Neath the willows!        55
 
      In the desert hours,
Lyrist of thy visions, all my woes repeating,
With my tears for jewels do I fill the flowers,
      While the stars are fleeting,
        Stars are fleeting!        60
 
      Thou wilt doubt the tale,
Wilt not still believe my woes.—Thy harp bear token!
See, its very bosom-strings with this deep wail,
      All, like mine, are broken!
        Mine are broken!        65
 
 
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