Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  717. Thus the Mayne glideth

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

Robert Browning. 1812–1889

717. Thus the Mayne glideth

THUS the Mayne glideth 
Where my Love abideth; 
Sleep ‘s no softer: it proceeds 
On through lawns, on through meads, 
On and on, whate’er befall,         5
Meandering and musical, 
Though the niggard pasturage 
Bears not on its shaven ledge 
Aught but weeds and waving grasses 
To view the river as it passes,  10
Save here and there a scanty patch 
Of primroses too faint to catch 
A weary bee…. And scarce it pushes 
Its gentle way through strangling rushes 
Where the glossy kingfisher  15
Flutters when noon-heats are near, 
Glad the shelving banks to shun, 
Red and steaming in the sun, 
Where the shrew-mouse with pale throat 
Burrows, and the speckled stoat;  20
Where the quick sandpipers flit 
In and out the marl and grit 
That seems to breed them, brown as they: 
Naught disturbs its quiet way, 
Save some lazy stork that springs,  25
Trailing it with legs and wings, 
Whom the shy fox from the hill 
Rouses, creep he ne’er so still.