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
 
Extract from Squire Maurice
By Alexander Smith (1830–1867)
 
  INLAND I wander slow,
Mute with the power the earth and heaven wield:
A black spot sails across the golden field,
And through the air a crow.
Before me wavers spring’s first butterfly;        5
From out the sunny noon there starts the cuckoo’s cry;
The daisied meads are musical with lambs;
Some play, some feed, some, white as snow-flakes, lie
In the deep sunshine, by their silent dams.
The road grows wide and level to the feet;        10
The wandering woodbine through the hedge is drawn
Unblown its streaky bugles dim and sweet;
Knee-deep in fern stand startled doe and fawn,
And lo! there gleams upon a spacious lawn
An Earl’s marine retreat.        15
A little footpath quivers up the height,
And what a vision for a townsman’s sight!
A village, peeping from its orchard bloom,
With lowly roofs of thatch, blue threads of smoke,
O’erlooking all, a parsonage of white.        20
I hear the smithy’s hammer, stroke on stroke,
A steed is at the door; the rustics talk,
Proud of the notice of the gaitered groom;
A shallow river breaks o’er shallow falls.
Beside the ancient sluice that turns the mill        25
The lusty miller bawls;
The parson listens in his garden-walk,
The red-cloaked woman pauses on the hill,
This is a place, you say, exempt from ill,
A paradise, where, all the loitering day,        30
Enamoured pigeons coo upon the roof,
Where children ever play.—
Alas! Time’s webs are rotten, warp and woof;
Rotten his cloth of gold, his coarsest wear:
Here, black-eyed Richard ruins red-cheeked Moll,        35
Indifferent as a lord to her despair.
The broken barrow hates the prosperous dray;
And, for a padded pew in which to pray,
The grocer sells his soul.
 
 
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