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 Ionica: A Queen’s Visit (1851)
By William Johnson Cory (1823–1892)
 
FROM vale to vale, from shore to shore,
  The lady Gloriana passed,
To view her realms: the south wind bore
  Her shallop to Belleisle at last.
 
A quiet mead, where willows bend        5
  Above the curving wave, which rolls
On slowly crumbling banks, to send
  Its hard-won spoils to lazy shoals.
 
Beneath an oak weird eddies play,
  Where fate was writ for Saxon seer;        10
And yonder park is white with may,
  Where shadowy hunters chased the deer.
 
In rows, half up the chestnut, perch
  Stiff-silvered fairies; busy rooks
Caw from the elm; and, rung to church,        15
  Mute anglers drop their caddised hooks.
 
They troop between the dark-red walls,
  When the twin towers give four-fold chimes;
And lo! the breaking groups, where falls
  The chequered shade of quivering limes.        20
 
They come from field and wharf and street
  With dewy hair and veinèd throat,
One floor to tread with reverent feet,—
  One hour of rest for ball and boat:
 
Like swallows gathering for their flight,        25
  When autumn whispers, play no more,
They check the laugh, with fancies bright
  Still hovering round the sacred door.
 
Lo! childhood swelling into seed,
  Lo! manhood bursting from the bud:        30
Two growths, unlike; yet all agreed
  To trust the movement of the blood.
 
They toil at games, and play with books:
  They love the winner of the race,
If only he that prospers looks        35
  On prizes with a simple grace.
 
The many leave the few to choose;
  They scorn not him who turns aside
To woo alone a milder Muse,
  If shielded by a tranquil pride.        40
 
When thought is claimed, when pain is borne,
  Whate’er is done in this sweet isle,
There ’s none that may not lift his horn,
  If only lifted with a smile.
 
So here dwells freedom; nor could she,        45
  Who ruled in every clime on earth,
Find any spring more fit to be
  The fountain of her festal mirth.
 
Elsewhere she sought for lore and art,
  But hither came for vernal joy:        50
Nor was this all: she smote the heart
  And woke the hero in the boy.
 
 
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