Castles in the Air by Douglas B. W. Sladen

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We met: it was but to part; yet we had one month of gladness --
   Real gladness, sympathetic, ecstatic, voluptuous;
A prelude, it may be, to years of a regretful sadness --
   Such sadness as is possible to light-of-hearts like us.

Not that we loved as lovers do, for both of us were wedded;
   You to an absent husband, and I to a darling wife,
Whom I hardly leave an instant, so deeply is she imbedded
   'Mid my heart roots, and inseparably bound up with my life.

But you are my affinity, my female alter ego;
   You feel the same delights and woes and impulses as I;  
Beneath the same stars you were born as I -- sic astra lego --
   And love, as I, whate'er is fair and goodly 'neath the sky.  

How happy had we both been had your lot been cast to linger
   Among the canes and orange trees of your own sunny land;
Lounging on April afternoons, and reading some sweet singer,        
   Or talking half-tender banter when we had no book at hand.

How happy both of us might be if, with no long delaying,  
   'Twere mine to seek the great old land from which I drew my birth;
And with you in the English lanes take both our children maying,
   Or wander amid keeps and fanes half-hidden in the earth.      

We might live like model neighbours in a straggling Kentish village,
   In quaint old gabled houses perched on some commanding ridge,
And for our landscape have just hops and orchard trees and tillage,
   And a bluff Norman church-tow'r, and a narrow steep-arched bridge.

We might go up every June to see the million-peopled city;
   To see the best theatres, the Academy and Row:
For both of us delight in what is costly, grand, or pretty,
   And one's taste for the artistic wants a snack each year or so.

For my books we'd choose a room, with the morning sun to kiss it,
   And full of capabilities for adding fresh bookshelves
For swarms that would accumulate on every London visit;
   And, if we could contrive it, a bay-window for ourselves.

Lined with deep-cushioned lounges. We'd have sunny garden-closes,
   Where we could grow some hardy trees from our soft southern home,
And eke the puny summer out among the trees and roses,
   And cheat ourselves with the belief that winter'd never come.      

First published in The Australian Town and Country Journal, 26 May 1883

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 26, 2012 10:12 AM.

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