Julian Fane (1827-1870)

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Ad Matrem

How many a year hath Time, with felon hand
Filched from the sum of my alloted days,
Alas, with no performance that may stand
In warrant of a well-earned meed of praise!
Time hath the forehead of my life belined,
And clipt my youth with his accursèd shears,
Hath made companionable Joy unkind,
And taught mine eyes the fellowship of tears.
His false hands falsely have my mind assailed,
Thence stealing many a secret of sweet pleasure;
But his foiled fingers nothing have prevailed
Against my heart--the casket of my treasure.
My love of thee preserved in its fresh prime,
I, robbed, left rich; how poor a thief is Time!

Ad Matrem

O visioned face, unutterably fair,
How oft when blackness muffled up the night,
And tempest-laden was the surcharged air,
Nor any hope appeared of starry light,
How often, lucent as the full-faced moon,
When suddenly she rends the clouded fleece,
Hath thy sweet influence, like an unhoped boon,
Turned dark to bright, and tempest into peace!
Queen of my night of sorrows hast thou been,
Whose countenance of good all evil mars,
Knowing to crown with hopeful light serene
Earth's darksome vault when most forlorn of stars,
And to convert clouds bodeful of despair
To silver-suited omens good and fair.

(Text from The Golden Book of English Sonnets.)