Sonnets of a Little Girl, III, by Ernest Dowson

Duy Anh Phan (Doak Phan) - Mai Vi
Duy Anh Phan (Doak Phan) – Mai Vi – from flickr

In these verses, probably written around 1885, Dowson tells us that there is no sweeter music than a child’s name, it illuminates the poet’s life and relieves his heart of all sorrow. It is a sacred charm that guards him from harm.


The music in a name, who can conceive,
Who may define? Ah child thou dost not know
How many a time when my life’s lamp burns low
And hope’s light flickers—thou wouldst not believe
How thy dear treasured name will oft relieve
My sinking heart, how sweetly soft and low
My lips will frame it loath to let it go,
And kiss it quietly till I cease to grieve.
It is mine amulet, wrought rich and rare
With lovely fantasies, it is a charm
That whispered gently guardeth me from harm,
It is my ritual, my mystic prayer,
And in the hush of night thro’ lattice bars
I see it written in the lonely stars.

Source of the poem: Poésie Schublade, in Ernest Dowson Collected Poems, R. K. R. Thornton with Caroline Dowson (editors), University of Birmingham Press (2003).

Previously published on Agapeta, 2015/01/19.

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