On Receiving A Copy Of Mr. Austin Dobson's 'Old World Idylls'

A poem by James Russell Lowell


At length arrived, your book I take
To read in for the author's sake;
Too gray for new sensations grown,
Can charm to Art or Nature known
This torpor from my senses shake?

Hush! my parched ears what runnels slake?
Is a thrush gurgling from the brake?
Has Spring, on all the breezes blown,
At length arrived?

Long may you live such songs to make,
And I to listen while you wake,
With skill of late disused, each tone
Of the Lesboum, barbiton,
At mastery, through long finger-ache,
At length arrived.


As I read on, what changes steal
O'er me and through, from head to heel?
A rapier thrusts coat-skirt aside,
My rough Tweeds bloom to silken pride,--
Who was it laughed? Your hand, Dick Steele!

Down vistas long of clipt charmille
Watteau as Pierrot leads the reel;
Tabor and pipe the dancers guide
As I read on.

While in and out the verses wheel
The wind-caught robes trim feet reveal,
Lithe ankles that to music glide,
But chastely and by chance descried;
Art? Nature? Which do I most feel
As I read on?

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