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
 
Autumnal
By Richard Middleton (1882–1911)
 
ACROSS the scented garden of my dreams
  Where roses grew, Time passes like a thief,
Among my trees his silver sickle gleams,
  The grass is stained with many a ruddy leaf;
And on cold winds the petals float away        5
That were the pride of June and her array.
 
The bare boughs weave a net upon the sky
  To catch Love’s wings and his fair body bruise;
There are no flowers in the rosary—
  No song-birds in the mournful avenues;        10
Though on the sodden air not lightly breaks
The elegy of Youth, whom love forsakes.
 
Ah, Time! one flower of all my garden spare,
  One rose of all the roses, that in this
I may possess my love’s perfumèd hair        15
  And all the crimson secrets of her kiss.
Grant me one rose that I may drink its wine,
And from her lips win the last anodyne.
 
For I have learnt too many things to live,
  And I have loved too many things to die;        20
But all my barren acres I would give
  For one red blossom of eternity,
To animate the darkness and delight
The spaces and the silences of night.
 
But dreams are tender flowers that in their birth        25
  Are very near to death, and I shall reap,
Who planted wonder, unavailing earth,
  Harsh thorns and miserable husks of sleep.
I have had dreams, but have not conquered Time,
And love shall vanish like an empty rhyme.        30
 
 
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