‘Sweet in her green dell the flower of beauty slumbers,
Lull’d by the faint breezes sighing through her hair;
Sleeps she and hears not the melancholy numbers
Breathed to my sad lute ’mid the lonely air.
Down from the high cliffs the rivulet is teeming
To wind round the willow banks that lure him from above:
O that in tears, from my rocky prison streaming,
I too could glide to the bower of my love!
Ah! where the woodbines with sleepy arms have wound her,
Opes she her eyelids at the dream of my lay,
Listening, like the dove, while the fountains echo round her,
To her lost mate’s call in the forests far away.
Come then, my bird! For the peace thou ever bearest,
Still Heaven’s messenger of comfort to me—
Come—this fond bosom, O faithfullest and fairest,
Bleeds with its death-wound, its wound of love for thee!’
I have, in my garden, a certain ‘green dell’ (though as to whether I am the ‘flower of beauty’ I don’t know). Down at the bottom of the lawn, the ground falls, leaving a wide ditch between the grass and the fence. This place we have transformed from a muddy nettle ditch edged with scrabby leylandii (I realise scrabby is not a real word and would not use it in any book, but it is the best I can think of to describe them), to a paradise of fruit trees and foliage.
I found myself a little clearing, edged on one side with an arch of raspberries, and placing a chair therein, sat down to read some poetry.
A blossom fell from a bough above and alighted on my book, pure white with with a gentle cheek-pink leaking into it, and fluff-pollen yellow in the centre.
The Smell of Woodbine
She reclined, conscious of nothing but the springy turf under her, the golden sunlight as it streamed through the glowing green foliage and fell dappled about – the molten gold joy of the fairies. She had watched them arise each morning, clad in the pale skirts of the dew b’pearled primrose, with wings like the Chrysopa perla and scatter it, the happiness, the content.
She could smell – or at least she knew the smell was there, and was conscious of it as much as she was conscious of anything – the heavy, dream scent of the woodbine, and feel how its sleepy arms had wound her, wrapping her round with the feel and the smell of it like a blanket round a child. And she lay, lull’d by the sound of the faint breezes sighing through her hair.
And then she thought something came to her, breaking through the soft muffle of scents and sounds; pulling it aside, as the blanket might, when morning came, be pulled off the child, so that it lay exposed to the chill air of morning; a sound, or a feeling, she could not quite tell, for in this place two were as mingled as sunlight and shade, and blurry as dusk sky. And she remembered something, something which she ought not to have remembered; it was coming back to her, as a dream comes back to a waker, though here dream and waking were reversed, flashes of memory appearing for a minute in her lulled mind, and disappearing before she could identify them.
But she was dimly conscious, through the woodbine smell, that she was not so happy as she had thought she had been; that Life lay behind her, like a forgotten path through the wood newly uncovered; that there was one walking down it who longed for her to turn and re-trace her steps to join him. Would she? Could she?
That which I just wrote made me feel rather odd. I am happy I can enjoy sitting under the arching boughs without ‘Life’ behind me!