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.
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).