Edmund Gosse, fully Sir Edmund William Gosse

Gosse, fully Sir Edmund William Gosse

English Scholar, Author, Poet and Critic

Author Quotes

WHAT gift for passionate lovers shall we find?
Not flowers nor books of verse suffice for me,
But splinters of the odorous cedar-tree,
And tufts of pine-buds, oozy in the wind;
Give me young shoots of aromatic rind,
Or samphire, redolent of sand and sea,
For all such fragrances I deem to be
Fit with my sharp desires to be combined.
My heart is like a poet, whose one room,
Scented with Latakia faint and fine,
Dried rose leaves, and spilt attar, and old wine,
From curtained windows gathers its warm gloom
Round all but one sweet picture, where incline
His thoughts and fancies mingled with perfume.

BESIDE the dusty road of life,
Deflower'd with toil and foul with strife,
Lie hid within a charm of dew
Pure harbours made for me and you.

In such a shadowy nook is set
Rest's purple-winged violet;
It nods upon the fitful breeze
Born in the fount's interstices;--

That fount of joy for travellers made,
Ensconc'd within a dappled shade,
Where still its wings our violet lifts
Beneath the pulsing air that shifts;--

The little fount that bubbles there
Under a veil of maiden-hair,
And coils through many a liquid fold
Its crystal waters dusk and cold.

So small the fount, a hidden thing,--
So weak the violet's throbbing wing,--
The haughty world in dust rides by,
Without a thought, without a sigh.

Loud, in a riot of speed and glare,
About their noisy work men fare;
With shriek of engine, yell of horn,
They glorify a world new-born.

We love the old, the timid ways,
The loose bough shutting out the blaze,
The murmur of an ancient rhyme,
Heard faintly in the ear of Time.

And spirits, here and there, who still
Prefer the mill-stream to the mill,
To riot, quiet, and to speed
The dance of rooted water-weed.

Across a rood or two of grass,
Unseen, into our realm will pass,
Will lean above the whispering spring,
And hear the hidden runnel sing.

And then the crimson cheek will choose
The rainbow of the pulsing dews;
Then silence calm the 'wilder'd brain,
And life grow sanctified again.

ONE ballade more before we say good-night,
O dying Muse, one mournful ballade more!
Then let the new men fall to their delight,
The Impressionist, the Decadent, a score
Of other fresh fanatics who adore
Quaint demons, and disdain thy golden shrine;
Ah! faded goddess, thou wert held divine
When we were young! But now each laurelled head
Has fallen, and fallen the ancient glorious line;
The last is gone, since Banville too is dead.

Peace, peace a moment, dolorous Ibsenite!
Pale Tolstoist, moaning from the Euxine shore!
Psychology, to dreamland take thy flight!
And, fell Heredity, forbear to pour
Drop after drop thy dose of hellebore,
For we look back to-night to ruddier wine
And gayer singing than these moans of thine!
Our skies were azure once, our roses red,
Our poets once were crowned with eglantine;
The last is gone, since Banville too is dead.

With flutes and lyres and many a lovely rite
Through the mad woodland of our youth they bore
Verse, like pure ichor in a chrysolite,
Secret yet splendid, and the world forswore,
For one brief space, the mocking mask it wore.
Then failed, then fell those children of the vine,--
Sons of the sun,--and sank in slow decline;
Pulse after pulse their radiant lives were shed;
To silence we their vocal names consign;
The last is gone, since Banville too is dead.

Prince-jeweller, whose facet-rhymes combine
All hues that glow, all rays that shift and shine,
Farewell! thy song is sung, thy splendour fled!
No bards to Aganippe's wave incline;
The last is gone, since Banville too is dead.

BREAK, long wave, below my feet!
Wind and meet,
Sea-streams that the moon hath shaken!
From the shingle white and bare,
All the air
With sonorous cadence waken!

From the distance dim and bright,
Gulphed in light,
To the long spent wave that dashes,
All the sea shines through and through
Fiery blue:
When the wind is up, it flashes.

And the milder heaven above,
Full of love,
Smiles upon the rolling ocean,
Like a woman's heart content
To be spent
And absorbed in sweet devotion.

Surely Venus through the sea
Clear and free,
Rose on such a morn as this is,
Called her doves about her there,
Heard the air
Murmur through their wings like kisses.

Out of cold green depths of foam,
Sea-nymphs' home,
To the live air, red with roses,
Came she, clothed about with light,
Warm and white,
Like a moon the mist encloses.

Like a summer moon whose limbs,
As she swims
Ever up in the pale aether,
Cast their lawny veils aside
Till they hide
Nought from the mad earth beneath her.

Though no more with reverent eyes,
Sadly wise,
Sea and air to us are holy,
Born too late for gods to bless
We profess
To be disenchanted wholly,

Though the nymphs are dead, and we
Cannot see,
Plunging in the gulfs of azure,
Long processions, gods in line,
Half divine,
Blowing horns of mellow leisure,

Yet the old sweet creeds and we
Cannot be
Always so far rent asunder,
Since we feel on such a morn
Life reborn
In the antique world of wonder.

We were as nearly bored as enthusiasm would permit.

Never mind whom you praise, but be very careful who you blame

Cling to the flying hours; and yet let one pure hope, one great desire, like song on dying lips be set - that ere we fall in scattered fire our hearts may life the world's heart higher.

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Gosse, fully Sir Edmund William Gosse
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English Scholar, Author, Poet and Critic