[from Collected Works, T.E.Brown]



MAY MARGERY of Lynton is brighter than the day ;
Her eye is like the sun in heaven —
Was ne'er so sweet a May.
May Margery has learnt a tune

To which her soul is set —
The voices of all happy things
Are in its cadence met—
The voices of all happy things
In air, and earth, and sea,
Make music in the little breast
Of sweet May Margery.

And has May Margery a heart ?
Nay, child, God give thee grace !
He made it for thee years ago,
And keeps it in a place—
The heart of gold that shall be thine —
But who shall have the key
That opens it —Ah, who ? ah, who?
Ah, who, May Margery ?


At Malmsmead, by the river side
I met a little lady,
And, as she passed, she sang a song
That was not Tate or Brady,
Or any song by art contrived
Of minstrel or of poet,
For baron's hall, or chanter's desk ;
And yet I seemed to know it.
Good sooth ! I think the song was mine —
The all unthinking sadness—
She read it from my longing eyes,
And gave it back in gladness
And yet it was a challenge too,
As plain as she could make it,
So petulant, so innocent,
And yet I could not take it.
A breath, a gleam, and she is gone —
Just half a minute only—
So die the breaths, so fade the gleams,
And we are left so lonely.


Milk! milk! milk
Straight as the Parson's bands,
Streaming like silk
Under and over her hands —
What is Mary scheming?
What is Mary dreaming?

Swish! swish! swish!
Pressing her sweet young brow,
Smooth as a dish,
To the side of the sober cow —
Can she tell no tale then ?
Nought but milk and pail then ?

Strip ! strip ! strip !
Far away over the sea
Comes there a ship,
The ship of all ships that be ? Ah, little fairy
Ah, Mary, Mary




From Lynton when you drive to Porlock,
Just take old Tempus by the forelock —
In any case, don't hurry ; time and tide —
Of course —I know. But, where the roads divide,
Upon the moor,
Be sure
To shun the via dextra,
And choose the marvellous ride
(One half-hour extra)
That zigzags to a gate
Nigh Porlock town —O, it is great, ,
That strip of Channel sea,
Backed with the prime of English Arcady !
It is not that the heather rushes
In mad tumultuous flushes
(Trickling's the word I'd use) ;
But O, the greens and blues
And browns whereon the crimson dwells;
The buds, the bells ;
The drop from arch to arch
Of pine and larch ;
The scented glooms where soft sun-fainting culvers
Elude the eye,
And fox-gloves, like innumerous-celled revolvers
Shoot honey-tongued quintessence of July !


Sweet breeze that sett'st the summer buds a swaying,
Dear lambs amid the primrose meadows playing,
Let me not think
O floods, upon whose brink
The merry birds are maying,
Dream, softly dream!
O blessed mother, lead me
Unsevered from thy girdle —lead me! feed me!
I have no will but thine ;
I need not but the juice
Of elemental wine —
Perish remoter use
Of strength reserved for conflict yet to come
Let me be dumb,
As long as I may feel thy hand —
This, this is all —do ye not understand
How the great Mother mixes all our bloods
O breeze! O swaying buds!
O lambs, O primroses, O floods!




We saw her die, and she is dead —
Our little sister—
A March wind came and kissed her,
And sighed and fled—
Beyond the hill,
Far in the East we hear him sighing still.
But she is dead,
Our little sister's dead '
Ah, chill! chill ! chill !
Ah, see the drooping head .' Our sister's dead—
We know that she is dead.

Andante con moto.

Talitha cumi! O Thou Christ,
Hast kept the tryst ?
Laugh not,
O maidens ! this is He
Of Galilee,
Of Nazareth,
The Christ that conquers Death —
Dost catch a breath,
O Christ ? O, Life!
Talitlie, cumi ! See
The tumult as of some sweet strife
Strained tremulous up ; up —
" Give her to drink! " He saith —
Yea, Lord, behold, a cup!


O gentle airs of Spring,
Come to the hills and the valleys,
From the South, from the West,
As seems you best,
Rocked in your golden galleys !
Bring the bread, bring — the wine,
Bring the smell that's fine,
Bring the scarf and the bright green wimple !
See, she dips ! see, she sips ! put your oozy lips
To the curve of each nascent dimple—
To her head, to her feet
So warm and sweet
Bring the rain and the sunshine after ;
To the ordered limbs
Where the new life swims,
To the kneaded mesh
Of the soft pink flesh,
Bring baths of dew,
Bring skies of blue
Bring love, and light, and laughter!


Goldfinch underneath the bough
Clinging, swinging,
You are happy now.

Blackbird, as you flit along,
Staying, swaying,
Sing her but one song !

Dove, when twilight wakes unrest,
Yearning, burning,
Lean to her your breast!


O God of Heaven !
These are Thy gifts, to all Thy creatures given —
Love, laughter, light—
Stablish the ancient right,
O God; and bend above them all Thy brooding arch —
Dove, blackbird, goldfinch, larch!


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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
HTML Transcription © F.Coakley , 2000