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No News From The War

Augusta Davies Webster 1837 (Poole, Dorset) – 1894

I.— At The Camp.

'IS she sitting in the meadow
Where the brook leaps to the mill,
Leaning low against the poplar,
Dreamily and still?

Now, with joined hands, grave, now smiling,
Gathering now and then
From her lap her woodland darlings,
Pale sweet cyclamen?

Sitting as she sat that evening,
Trying to feel that sweet same
Who was waiting me and knew not,
Feel as when I came?

Feel again the strange shy newness,
The betrothing one first kiss?
Oh, my own, you are remembering
In an hour like this.'

II.— In The Meadow.

'HERE, here it was he made me promise him;
He stood beneath that branch; here was his seat,
Just where the bole's shade makes the sunlights dim,
Beside me, at my feet.

Ah, since, so many times we have sat here:
And who can tell when that shall be again?
My love! my love!—But what have I to fear?
Could prayers like mine be vain?

He will not fall, my hero; he will come
Bringing ripe honours more to honour me;
He will come scatheless back, and tell his home
He helped to keep it free.

Oh, love! I was so proud of you before,
How can I be so much much prouder now?
And how can I grow prouder more and more?
Ah! but my heart knows how.'

III.— From A Special Correspondent's Letter.

*

'AND still no news to matter. Fights each day;
Hundreds of killed and wounded; but we wait
This great impending battle which, they say,
Will be more terrible even than the late.

It must come soon: to-morrow it might be.
Now, since I can tell nothing, let me give
An incident, merely to make you see
How near to death all of us here must live.

This morning, on my chosen slope, from whence
My watch, I thought, was safe, I chanced to see
A young and stalwart captain leap a fence
To pluck a cyclamen, not far from me,

Which made me note his face: this afternoon
On that same slope I saw his body lie
Among a dozen. Well, you may look soon
For tidings of some moment. Now, good-bye.'

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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Augusta Davies Webster

Augusta Webster born in Poole, Dorset as Julia Augusta Davies, was an English poet, dramatist, essayist, and translator. The daughter of Vice-admiral George Davies and Julia Hume, she spent her younger years on board the ship he was stationed, the Griper. She studied Greek at home, taking a particular interest in Greek drama, and went on to study at the Cambridge School of Art. She published her first volume of poetry in 1860 under the pen name Cecil Homes. In 1863, she married Thomas Webster, a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. They had a daughter, Augusta Georgiana, who married Reverend George Theobald Bourke, a younger son of the Joseph Bourke, 3rd Earl of Mayo. Much of Webster's writing explored the condition of women, and she was a strong advocate of women's right to vote, working for the London branch of the National Committee for Women's Suffrage. She was the first female writer to hold elective office, having been elected to the London School Board in 1879 and 1885. In 1885 she travelled to Italy in an attempt to improve her failing health. She died on 5 September 1894, aged 57. During her lifetime her writing was acclaimed and she was considered by some the successor to Elizabeth Barrett Browning. After her death, however, her reputation quickly declined. Since the mid-1990s she has gained increasing critical attention from scholars such as Isobel Armstrong, Angela Leighton, and Christine Sutphin. Her best-known poems include three long dramatic monologues spoken by women: A Castaway, Circe, and The Happiest Girl In The World, as well as a posthumously published sonnet-sequence, "Mother and Daughter". more…

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