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Alfred H. Miles, ed. The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century. 1907.

By Critical and Biographical Essay by Alfred H. Miles

Selwyn Image (1849–1930)

A DAINTY little volume of dainty verse, issued by Mr. Elkin Mathews in 1894, introduced Mr. Selwyn Image’s name to those unfamiliar with it through serial literature. The book contains thirty-three poems, of which sixteen are, to use conventional terms, secular, and seventeen sacred. The secular songs are love lyrics, chaste in form and style as in thought and feeling. The sacred numbers are a series of carols for Christmas, Holy Week, and Easter Day. Of the former, the lyrics entitled “Her Confirmation” (quoted below), “A Summer Day,” and “La Rose Du Bal,” are among the best. Of the latter, the three carols which follow are good examples:—

  • Her Confirmation
  • When my Clorinda walks in white
  • Unto her Confirmation Rite,
  • What sinless dove can show to heaven
  • A purer sight?
  • Beneath a lawn, translucent, crown
  • Her lovely curls conceal their brown;
  • Her wanton eyes are fastened, even,
  • Demurely down.
  • And that delicious mouth of rose
  • No words, no smile, may discompose;
  • All of her feels the approaching awe,
  • And silent grows.
  • Come, then, Thou noiseless Spirit, and rest
  • Here, where she waits Thee for her Guest;
  • Pass not, but sweetly onward draw,
  • Till heaven’s possessed!
  • Mr. Selwyn Image, who is by profession an artist, was educated at Brighton College, Marlborough, and New College, Oxford, at which latter he held an exhibition, and took his degree in 1872.