Tag Archives: Walter de la Mare


Lady Lilith. Dante Gabriel Rossetti.



Walter de la Mare


I watched the Lady Caroline

Bind up her beauteous hair.

Her face was rosy in the glass,

And, ‘twixt the coils, her hands would pass,

White in the candleshine.


Her bottles on the table lay,

Stoppered, yet sweet of violet;

Her image in the mirror stooped

To view those locks as lightly looped

As cherry boughs in May.


The snowy night lay dim without,

I heard the Waits their sweet song sing;

The window smouldered keen with frost;

Yet still she twisted, sleeked and tossed

Her beauteous hair about.


Pan Among the Reeds. Arnold Böcklin. 1858.



Walter de la Mare


Ever, ever

Stir and shiver

The reeds and rushes

By the river:

Ever, ever,

As if in dream,

The lone moon’s silver

Sleeks the stream.

What old sorrow,

What lost love,

Moon, reeds, rushes,

Dream you of?


‘Why?’ was published in Bells and Grass, a 1941 collection of Walter de la Mare’s poems for children.

Magnifying Glass

Ninety-three Degrees in the Shade. William Adolphe Bouguereau.


Magnifying Glass

Walter de la Mare


With this round glass

I can make magic talk—

A myriad shell show

In a scrap of chalk;


Of but an inch of moss

A forest—flowers and trees;

A drop of water

Like a hive of bees.


I lie in wait and watch

How the deft spider jets

The woven web-silk

From his spinnerets;


What tigerish claws he has!

And oh, the silly flies

That stumble into his snare—

With all those eyes!


Not even the tiniest thing

By this my magic glass

Will make more marvelous

And itself surpass.


Yes, and with lenses like it,

Eyeing the moon,

‘Twoud seem you’d walk there

In an afternoon!


‘Magnifying Glass’ was published in Bells and Grass, a 1941 collection of Walter de la Mare’s poems for children.


Sweet Doing Nothing. Auguste Toulmouche. 1877.



Walter de la Mare, 1941


Dainty Miss Apathy

Sat on a sofa,

Danglig her legs,

And with nothing to do;

She looked at a drawing of

Old Queen Victoria,

At a rug from far Persia—

An exquisite blue;

At a bowl of bright tulips;

A needlework picture

Of doves caged in wicker

You could almost hear coo;

She looked at the switch

That evokes e-


At the coals of an age

B.C. millions and two—

When the trees were like ferns

And the reptiles all flew;

She looked at the cat

Asleep on the hearthrug,

At the sky in the window,—

The clouds in it, too,

And a marvelous light

From the West burning through;

And the one silly word

In her desolate noddle

As she dangled her legs,

Having nothing to do,

Was not, as you’d guess,

Of dumbfounded felicity,

But contained just four letters,

And these pronounced POOH!


This humorous rebuke was published in a collection for children by Walter de la Mare entitled Bells and Grass.