Waiting

Augusta Davies Webster 1837 (Poole, Dorset) – 1894

A YOUNG fair girl among her flowers,
And, as to blossoms born in May,
Her morrows still brought sunnier hours
Than made up sunny yesterday.
She did but wait: 'Hope is so sweet;
We love so well, my love and I;
The hours that come, the hours that fleet,
End all in one glad by and by.'

A pale worn woman, scarcely sad,
But tired, like those who, too long pent,
Forget the joy they have not had
Of the free winds, and droop content.
She did but wait: 'Ah, no, to me
The silent hope is never dead;
What are the days that are to be
But part of the dear days long fled?'

He came: 'The wealth we need is mine;
And now?' 'Alas!' she said, 'in vain.
The love I love is noway thine,
I wait who never comes again.
Oh, for my lover of old days,
We two from all the world apart!
I must go lone on earth's bleak ways,
He is not now save in my heart.'

He wed another. She, alone,
Patient and weary, toiled for bread.
And bygone still was never gone,
The silent hope was never dead.
She did but wait: 'I have the past;
The new days live the old days o'er,
And there abides until the last
The by and by that was before.'

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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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