THE TRUANT’S HOLIDAY
COME, let us forth, Sibylla ! The brave day,
See, ’s all a-quiver with its gold and blue !
Come, let us fly these paltry streets, and pay
Our matin worship at some woodland shrine,
Where yet the pearl’s on rose and eglantine
Not vainly there to sue
From Nature’s absolution and grave peace
Of town-bred weariness an hour or so’s release !
Oh ! what enchantment lures us ! The glad fields,
The dappled woodland, the chaste, whispering stream ;
Yea, every marvel which rare Nature yields
Of colour, or perfume, or entangled sound,
To those who awefully approach her ground ;—
Dear, how each joy doth seem
This hour conspired t’ entrance us in some spell
Of fairyland’s delight, no mortal song may tell !
What are these days we spend in curious toil,
In hectic pleasure, and misname them life ?
Ah ! what last gain shall London’s heart assoil
For skies beclouded, Nature’s fragrant breath
Made poisonous for us ; whilst, more grim than Death,
Amid the lonely strife,
Goading us on from fatal hour to hour
The brooding eyes of Care on her cowed victims lower ?
Come, let us forth ! why heed pale Duty’s frown,
If from th’ accustomed task our truant feet
Turn wantonly, stale prisoners of the Town ?
Come, come, let’s haste, ere yet a jealous fate
164 THE SAVOY
On steps that falter shall cry out “Too late !”
Nay, do not linger, Sweet !
Joy calls a-flying : whoso fears t’ obey her,
May grieve the live-long day in vain attempt to stay her !
Image, Selwyn. “The Truant’s Holiday.” The Savoy, vol. 2, April 1896, pp. 163-164. Savoy Digital Edition, edited by Christopher Keep and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2018-2020. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2019. https://1890s.ca/savoyv2-image-truants-holiday/