Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Extracts from May Carols: ‘A sweet exhaustion seems to hold’
By Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814–1902)
 
II. 30

A SWEET exhaustion seems to hold
  In spells of calm the shrouded eve:
The gorse itself a beamless gold
  Puts forth: yet nothing seems to grieve.
 
The dewy chaplets hang on air;        5
  The willowy fields are silver-grey;
Sad odours wander here and there;
  And yet we feel that it is May.
 
Relaxed and with a broken flow
  From dripping bowers low carols swell        10
In mellower, glassier tones, as though
  They mounted through a bubbling well.
 
The crimson orchis scarce sustains
  Upon its drenched and drooping spire
The burden of the warm soft rains;        15
  The purple hills grow nigh and nigher.
 
Nature, suspending lovely toils,
  On expectations lovelier broods,
Listening, with lifted hand, while coils
  The flooded rivulet through the woods.        20
 
She sees, drawn out in vision clear,
  A world with summer radiance drest
And all the glories of that year
  Still sleeping in her sacred breast.
 
 
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