Thursday, March 12, 2009

the blackbird screaming from the wood

O golden love that waitest me,

The days pass on, pass on a pace,
       Sometimes I have a little rest

In fairest dreams, when on thy face
       My lips lie, or thy hands are prest

About my forehead, and thy lips
       Draw near and nearer to mine own;
But when the vision from me slips,
       In colourless dawn I lie and moan,

And wander forth with fever'd blood,
       That makes me start at little things,
The blackbird screaming from the wood,
       The sudden whirr of pheasants' wings.

0 dearest, scarcely seen by me —
This is an extract from "Spell-bound" by William Morris, found in his book, The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems. Making up the central section of the poem, these lines are given in Italic type in the printed text. (See full text here.)

This is the 10th entry that Lawrence wrote out in Minorities, his pocket book of blank pages. See the previous post for an account of Lawrence's affection for Morris's poetry. In its extreme romanticism this poem differs from others that Lawrence chose to carry about with him, but it does generally meet his selection criteria.

{First page of the first poem in the book and the last page of the first edition of the book; source: Toronto Public Library}

Some sources:

Minorities, by T E Lawrence; ed. by Jeremy Wilson (London, Cape, 1971).

The Defence of Guenevere (1875)

The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems, by William Morris, edited by Robert Steele (A. Moring, 1904)

The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems by William Morris (1908)

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