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.
 
Prelude
By Arthur Christopher Benson (1862–1925)
 
  HUSH’D is each busy shout:
  The reverent people wait,
To see the sacred pomp stream out
  Beside the temple-gate.
 
  The bull with garlands hung,        5
  Stern priests in vesture grim:
With rolling voices swiftly sung
  Peals out the jocund hymn.
 
  In front, behind, beside,
  Beneath the chiming towers,        10
Pass boys that fling the censer wide,
  And striplings scattering flowers.
 
  Victim, or minister
  I dare not claim to be,
But in the concourse and the stir,        15
  There shall be room for me.
 
  The victim feels the stroke:
  The priests are bow’d in prayer:—
I feed the porch with fragrant smoke,
  Strew roses on the stair.        20
 
 
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