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LAWRENCE. Yes. But the Pipe
Peace to you both. The Pipe I shall retain.
A GARDEN IDYLL.
(If it was wrong to watch you, pardon,) Behind this weeping birch withdrawn,
I watched you saunter round the garden. I saw you bend beside the phlox,
Pluck, as you passed, a sprig of myrtle, Review my well-ranged hollyhocks,
Smile at the fountain's slender spurtle;
You paused beneath the cherry-tree,
Where my marauder thrush was singing, Peered at the bee-hives curiously,
And narrowly escaped a stinging ; And then-you see I watched—you passed
Down the espalier walk that reaches Out to the western wall, and last
Dropped on the seat before the peaches.
What was your thought ? You waited long.
Sublime or graceful,-grave,-satiric?
A Morris Greek-and-Gothic song ?
A tender Tennysonian lyric ? Tell me.
That garden-seat shall be, So long as speech renown disperses, Illustrious as the spot where he
The gifted Blank-composed his verses.
Madam,—whose uncensorious eye
Grows gracious over certain pages, Wherein the Jester's maxims lie,
It may be, thicker than the Sage's I hear but to obey, and could
Mere wish of mine the pleasure do you, Some verse as whimsical as Hood,
As gay as Praed,-should answer to you.
But, though the common voice proclaims
Our only serious vocation Confined to giving nothings names,
And dreams a “ local habitation"; Believe me there are tuneless days,
When neither marble, brass, nor vellum, Would profit much by any lays
That haunt the poet's cerebellum.
More empty things, I fear, than rhymes,
More idle things than songs, absorb it;
Reposes mildly in its orbit;
Whose jog-trot thought is nowise restive, “A primrose by a river's brim”
Is absolutely unsuggestive.
The fickle Muse! As ladies will,
She sometimes wearies of her wooer ; A goddess, yet a woman still,
She flies the more that we pursue her; In short, with worst as well as best,
Five months in six, your hapless poet Is just as prosy as the rest,
But cannot comfortably show it.
You thought, no doubt, the garden-scent
Brings back some brief-winged bright sensation Of love that came and love that went,-
Some fragrance of a lost flirtation, Born when the cuckoo changes song,
Dead ere the apple's red is on it, That should have been an epic long,
Yet scarcely served to fill a sonnet.
Or else you thought,--the murmuring noon,
He turns it to a lyric sweeter, With birds that gossip in the tune,
And windy bough-swing in the metre ; Or else the zigzag fruit-tree arms
Recall some dream of harp-prest bosoms, Round singing mouths, and chanted charms,
And mediæval orchard blossoms,
Quite à la mode. Alas for prose !
My vagrant fancies only rambled Back to the red-walled Rectory close,
When first my graceless boyhood gamboled, Climbed on the dial, teased the fish,
And chased the kitten round the beeches, Till widening instincts made me wish
For certain slowly-ripening peaches.
Three peaches. Not the Graces three
Had more equality of beauty :
I wrestled with Desire and Duty;
The Laws of Property beset them; The conflict made my reason reel,
And, half-abstractedly, I ate them ;