Archive for April 11th, 2016

Monday, 11 April 2016

Given Over by Thomas Woolner

The men of learning say she must
Soon pass and be as if she had not been.
To gratify the barren lust
Of Death, the roses in her cheeks are seen
To blush so brightly, blooming deeper damascene.

All hope and doubt, all fears are vain:
The dreams I nursed of honouring her are past,
And will not comfort me again.
I see a lurid sunlight throw its last
Wild gleam athwart the land whose shadows lengthen fast.

It does not seem so dreadful now
The horror stands out naked, stark, and still:
I am quite calm, and wonder how
My terror played such mad pranks with my will.
The North winds fiercely blow, I do not feel them chill.

All things must die: somewhere I read
What wise and solemn men pronounce of joy;
No sooner born, they say, than dead:
The strife of being, but a whirling toy
Humming a weary moan spun by capricious boy.

Has my soul reached a starry height
Majestically calm?  No monster, drear
And shapeless, glares me faint at night;
I am not in the sunshine checked for fear
That monstrous shapeless thing is somewhere crouching near?

No; woe is me! far otherwise:
The naked horror numbs me to the bone;
In stupor calm its cold blank eyes
Set hard at mine.  I do not fall or groan,
Our island Gorgon’s face had changed me into stone.

From: Woolner, Thomas, My Beautiful Lady. Nelly Dale, 1887, Cassell & Company: London, pp. 89-90.

Date: 1857-1861

By: Thomas Woolner (1825-1892)