Drifting Apart, by Joseph Ashby-Sterry

Joseph Ashy-Sterry
Joseph Ashy-Sterry (c.1880) – from the 1889 Theatre Magazine

Another poem from The River Rhymer, about a loved girl seen rowing in a boat. The poet longs to join her in her canoe, but it is too small for two persons.


The leaves scarce rustled in the trees,
And faintly blew the summer breeze;
A damsel drifted slowly down,
Aboard her ship to Henley town;
And as the white sail passed along,
A punted Poet sang this song!

IN your canoe, love, when you are going,
With white sail flowing, and merry song;
In your canoe, love, with ripples gleaming
And sunshine beaming, you drift along!
While you are dreaming, or idly singing,
Your sweet voice ringing, when skies are blue
In summer days, love, on water-ways, love,
You like to laze, love—in your canoe!

In your canoe, love, I’d be a tripper,
If you were skipper and I were mate;
In your canoe, love, where sedges shiver
And willows quiver, we’d navigate!
Upon the River, you’d ne’er be lonely,
For, if you only had room for two,
I’d pass my leisure with greatest pleasure
With you, my treasure—in your canoe!

In your canoe, love, when breezes sigh light,
In tender twilight, we’d drift away;
In your canoe, love, light as a feather,
Were we together what should I say?
In sunny weather, were Fates propitious,
A tale delicious I’d tell to you!
In quiet spots, love, forget-me-nots, love,
We’d gather lots, love—in your canoe!

Source of the poem: Joseph Ashby-Sterry, The River Rhymer, New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, London: W.J. Ham-Smith (1913).

Previously published on Agapeta, 2018/10/13.

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