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Richard Burton: Across the Fields to Anne

 

Across the Fields to Anne

How often in the summer-tide,
His graver business set aside,
Has stripling Will, the thoughtful-eyed,
As to the pipe of Pan,
Stepped blithesomely with lover’s pride
Across the fields to Anne.

It must have been a merry mile,
This summer stroll by hedge and stile,
With sweet foreknowledge all the while
How sure the pathway ran
To dear delights of kiss and smile,
Across the fields to Anne.

The silly sheep that graze to-day,
I wot, they let him go his way,
Nor once looked up, as who should say:
“It is a seemly man.”
For many lads went wooing aye
Across the fields to Anne.

The oaks, they have a wiser look;
Mayhap they whispered to the brook:
“The world by him shall yet be shook,
It is in nature’s plan;
Though now he fleets like any rook
Across the fields to Anne.”

And I am sure, that on some hour
Coquetting soft ‘twixt sun and shower,
He stooped and broke a daisy-flower
With heart of tiny span,
And bore it as a lover’s dower
Across the fields to Anne.

While from her cottage garden-bed
She plucked a jasmine’s goodlihede,
To scent his jerkin’s brown instead;
Now since that love began,
What luckier swain than he who sped
Across the fields to Anne?

The winding path whereon I pace,
The hedgerow’s green, the summer’s grace,
Are still before me face to face;
Methinks I almost can
Turn poet and join the singing race
Across the fields to Anne!

Richard Burton
(1861-1940)

fleursdumal.nl magazine

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