Statio Tertia

A poem by Thomas Edward Brown

The stream is very sweet
To-day . . . Just see the swallow dart!
How fleet!
It sent a shiver to my heart.
If he had lived, you say,
Well, well, if he had lived, what then?
Some men
Will always argue, yes, I know . . . of course . .
The argument has force.
If he had lived, he might have changed,
From bad to worse?
Nay, my shrewd balance-setter,
Why not from good to better?
Why not to best? to joy
And splendour? O, my boy!
I did not want this argument in the least,
My soul had ceased
From doubt and questioning,
That swallow’s wing!
What a transcendent rush!
Hush! hush!
Or, if you talk, talk low:
For . . . do you know . . .
Just as the swallow dipt,
I felt as if a soft hand slipt
Its fingers into mine he’s near
He’s with us . . . ‘tis not right the child should hear
This jangling . . . low then, low!
Or this is better . . . go,
Go, darling; play upon the bank,
And prank
Your hair with daisy and with buttercup,
And we will meet you higher up.
Now then . . . If he had lived? if my sweet son
Had lived? . . . You stare . . .
There! there!
‘Tis gone, ‘tis gone,
It was the swallow’s dart
That sent a shiver to my heart.

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