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Poem by Jean Ingelow

A Song in Three Parts


The white broom flatt'ring her flowers in calm June weather,
'O most sweet wear;
Forty-eight weeks of my life do none desire me,
Four am I fair,'

Quoth the brown bee
'In thy white wear
Four thou art fair.
A mystery
Of honeyed snow
In scented air
The bee lines flow
Straight unto thee.
Great boon and bliss
All pure I wis,
And sweet to grow
Ay, so to give
That many live.
Now as for me,
I,' quoth the bee,
'Have not to give,
Through long hours sunny
Gathering I live:
Aye debonair
Sailing sweet air
After my fare,
Bee-bread and honey.
In thy deep coombe,
O thou white broom,
Where no leaves shake,
Bent nor clover,
I a glad rover,
Thy calms partake,
While winds of might
From height to height
Go bodily over.
Till slanteth light,
And up the rise
Thy shadow lies,
A shadow of white,
A beauty-lender
Pathetic, tender.

Short is thy day?
Answer with 'Nay,'
Longer the hours
That wear thy flowers
Than all dull, cold
Years manifold
That gift withhold.
A long liver,
O honey-giver,
Thou by all showing
Art made, bestowing,
I envy not
Thy greater lot,
Nor thy white wear.
But, as for me,
I,' quoth the bee,
'Never am fair.'


The nightingale lorn of his note in darkness brooding
Deeply and long,
'Two sweet months spake the heart to the heart. Alas! all's over,
O lost my song.'

One in the tree,
'Hush now! Let be:
The song at ending
Left my long tending
Over als򮍊 Let be, let us go
Across the wan sea.

The little ones care not,
And I fare not
Amiss with thee.

Thou hast sung all,
This hast thou had.
Love, be not sad;
It shall befall
When the bush buddeth
And the bank studdeth
Where grass is sweet
And damps do fleet,
Her delicate beds
With daisy heads
That the Stars Seven
Leaned down from heaven
Shall sparkling mark
In the warm dark
Thy most dear strain
Which ringeth aye true
Piercing vale, croft
Lifted aloft
Dropt even as dew
With a sweet quest
To her on the nest
When damps we love
Fall from above.

'Art thou asleep?
Answer me, answer me,
Night is so deep
Thy right fair form
I cannot see;
Answer me, answer me,
Are the eggs warm?
Is't well with thee?'

Ay, this shall be
Ay, thou full fain
In the soft rain
Shalt sing again.'


A fair wife making her moan, despised, forsaken,
Her good days o'er;
'Seven sweet years of my life did I live belov褬
Sevenno more.'

Then Echo wokeand spoke
'No moreno more,'
And a wave broke
On the sad shore
When Echo said
'No more,'

Nought else made reply,
Nor land, nor loch, nor sky
Did any comfort try,
But the wave spread
Echo's faint tone
All down the desolate shore,
'No moreno more.' 

Jean Ingelow

Jean Ingelow's other poems:
  1. Perdita
  2. The Measureless Gulfs Of Air Are Full Of Thee
  3. Grand Is The Leisure Of The Earth
  4. Requiescat In Pace!
  5. Scholar and Carpenter

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