David Rands has kindly shared with readers of the Victorian Web his site about the life and works of W. B. Rands, the prolific writer of children's literature and originator of The Boy's Own Paper. Readers may wish to consult this site for more information about this little-known figure who had an immense influence upon Victorian children. [GPL]
When I was young I used to think
My love should smile if I was gay;
And, if I grieved, the lids let sink
Upon her eyes of tender grey.
But now I should as soon be wise
To teach the woodbine how to curl,
As the soft curtains of her eyes
When to unfurl and when to furl;
Or time the twilight overhead,
As the sweet changes of her face,
Which come like mysteries, and are sped
With so serenely swift a grace.
It is a school of things divine
To wait content, to read her looks
Of intervolving shade or shine,
Like sentences in holy books.
Dear eyes, be sad or glad at will!
Sweet rippled meanings, come and go!
And if I doubt or question, still
Be sure I love to have you so.
Sweet soul! You are so strangely dear.
You seem the crown of all desire:
And yet I do not wish you near
Unless your own choice bring you nigher:
Because whatever outward stress
compelled you to a thought of mine,
I know would make you something less,
And me less joyful at my shrine:
Dusking the gay, glad aureole, shed
in ever-widening rainbow rings,
Which, centring round your dearest head,
Fills the circumference of things,
And makes the light by which I see
There needs must be a greater light -
This, dear, is love, to you and me,
And so you're both my Might and Right.
You seem the flower and final cause
Of all the moment takes or brings;
For you this garrison of laws
Guards the round universe of things.
You stand for perfectness and truth,
You make me hate the cynic's laugh,
And if I smite, for wrath or ruth
I think it is on your behalf.
It is as if you shed the tears
When others mourn, and when the weak
Are buffeted rudely, it appears
As if the blow fell on your cheek.
And if you live, or if you die,
Or whatsoever thing you do,
I know that Goodness rules the sky,
For only Goodness could make you.
When love was old, and, pale or red,
The leaves were blown from bower and tree,
(But dearly Robin piped) I said
To Love, "What canst thou say to me?
"The pathway dwindles towards the mist,
The same dear hand is locked in mine:
Speak, ere the last long kiss be kissed,
Hast thou a secret more divine?"
But love was silent. I conjured
In vain the fond celestial fate
By all that longing souls endured -
Only the south wind whispered, "Wait!"
Pipe, Robin, till that kiss be kissed!
Slow drops the dark, fast shreds the tree;
But far beyond the folding mist
The golden secret waits for me.