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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Upon a Sweet-Briar

Walter Savage Landor (1775–1864)

MY briar that smelledst sweet

When gentle spring’s first heat

Ran through thy quiet veins,—

Thou that wouldst injure none,

But wouldst be left alone,

Alone thou leavest me, and nought of thine remains.

What! hath no poet’s lyre

O’er thee, sweet-breathing briar,

Hung fondly, ill or well?

And yet methinks with thee

A poet’s sympathy,

Whether in weal or woe, in life or death, might dwell.

Hard usage both must bear,

Few hands your youth will rear,

Few bosoms cherish you;

Your tender prime must bleed

Ere you are sweet, but freed

From life, you then are prized; thus prized are poets too.


And art thou yet alive?

And shall the happy hive

Send out her youth to cull

Thy sweets of leaf and flower,

And spend the sunny hour

With thee, and thy faint heart with murmuring music lull?

Tell me what tender care,

Tell me what pious prayer,

Bade thee arise and live.

The fondest-favoured bee

Shall whisper nought to thee

More loving than the song my grateful muse shall give.