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.
 
Retrospect
By Agnes Mary Frances Duclaux (Robinson-Darmesteter) (1857–1944)
 
HERE beside my Paris fire, I sit alone and ponder
All my life of long ago that lies so far asunder;
‘Here, how came I thence?’ I say, and greater grows the wonder
As I recall the farms and fields and placid hamlets yonder.
 
… See, the meadow-sweet is white against the water-courses,        5
Marshy lands are kingcup-gay and bright with streams and sources,
Dew-bespangled shines the hill where half-abloom the gorse is;
And all the northern fallows steam beneath the ploughing horses.
 
There ’s the red-brick-chimney’d house, the ivied haunt of swallows,
All its garden up and down and full of hills and hollows;        10
Past the lawn, the sunken fence whose brink the laurel follows;
And then the knee-deep pasture where the herd for ever wallows!
 
So they’ve clipp’d the lilac bush: a thousand thousand pities!
’Twas the blue old-fashion’d sort that never grows in cities.
There we little children play’d and chaunted aimless ditties,        15
While oft th’ old grandsire looked at us and smiled his Nunc Dimittis!
 
Green, O green with ancient peace, and full of sap and sunny,
Lusty fields of Warwickshire, O land of milk and honey,
Might I live to pluck again a spike of agrimony,
A silver tormentilla leaf or ladysmock upon ye!        20
 
Patience!—for I keep at heart your pure and perfect seeming,
I can see you wide awake as clearly as in dreaming,
Softer, with an inner light, and dearer, to my deeming,
Than when beside your brooks at noon I watch’d the sallows gleaming!
 
 
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