IX. ‘In The Garden’



Aylmer’s Garden, near the Lake. LAURENCE RABY and Estelle.



Come to the bank where the boat is moor’d to the willow-tree low ;

Bertha, the baby, won’t notice, Brian, the blockhead, won’t know.



Bertha is not such a baby, sir, as you seem to suppose ;

Brian, a blockhead he may be, more than you think for he knows.



This much, at least, of your brother, from the beginning he knew

Somewhat concerning that other made such a fool of by you.



Firmer those bonds were and faster, Frank was my spaniel, my slave.

You ! you would fain be my master; mark you ! the difference is grave.



Call me your spaniel, your starling, take me and treat me as these

I would be anything, darling ! aye, whatsoever you please.

Brian and Basil are ‘punting’, leave them their dice and their wine,

Bertha is butterfly hunting, surely one hour shall be mine.

See, I have done with all duty ; see, I can dare all disgrace,

Only to look at your beauty, feasting my eyes on your face.



Look at me, aye, till your eyes ache ! How, let me ask, will it end ?

Neither for your sake, nor my sake, but for the sake of my friend ?



Is she your friend then ? I own it, this is all wrong, and the rest,

Frustra sed anima monet, caro quod fortius est.



Not quite so close, Laurence Raby, not with your arm round my waist ;

Something to look at I may be, nothing to touch or to taste.



Wilful as ever and wayward ; why did you tempt me, Estelle ?



You misinterpret each stray word, you for each inch take an ell.

Lightly all laws and ties trammel me, I am warn’d for all that.


He (aside):

Perhaps she will swallow her camel when she has strained at her gnat.



Therefore take thought and consider, weigh well, as I do, the whole,

You for mere beauty a bidder, say, would you barter a soul ?



Girl ! that may happen, but this is ; after this welcome the worst ;

Blest for one hour by your kisses, let me be evermore curs’d.

Talk not of ties to me reckless, here every tie I discard—

Make me your girdle, your necklace—


She: Laurence, you kiss me too hard.



Aye, ’tis the road to Avernus, n’est ce pas vrai donc, ma belle ?

There let them bind us or burn us, mais le jeu vaut la chandelle.

Am I your lord or your vassal ? Are you my sun or my torch ?

You, when I look at you, dazzle, yet when I touch you, you scorch.



Yonder are Brian and Basil watching us fools from the porch.


Published in ‘Bush Ballads and Galloping Rhymes’ (1870).