Walter de la Mare

English poet and fiction writer

Walter John de la Mare, OM, CH (April 25, 1873June 22, 1956) was an English poet, short story writer, and novelist. Many of his poems and stories were for children, though he believed that there is no such thing as a good poem for children, only a good poem that children can understand.

Look thy last on all things lovely,
Every hour—let no night
Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
Till to delight
Thou hast paid thy utmost blessing.

Quotes edit

  • Slowly, silently, now the moon
    Walks the night in her silver shoon.
    • Silver.
  • A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
    With silver claws and silver eye;
    And moveless fish in the water gleam,
    By silver reeds in a silver stream.
    • Silver.
  • Here lies a most beautiful lady,
    Light of step and heart was she;
    I think she was the most beautiful lady
    That ever was in the West Country.
    • An Epitaph.
  • But beauty vanishes; beauty passes;
    However rare—rare it be;
    And when I crumble, who will remember
    This lady of the West Country?
    • An Epitaph.
  • Look thy last on all things lovely,
    Every hour—let no night
    Seal thy sense in deathly slumber
    Till to delight
    Thou hast paid thy utmost blessing.
    • Fare Well, st. 3 (1918).
  • ‘Who knocks?’ ‘I, who was beautiful,
    Beyond all dreams to restore,
    I from the roots of the dark thorn am hither,
    And knock on the door.’
    • The Ghost.
  • A face peered. All the grey night
    In chaos of vacancy shone;
    Nought but vast sorrow was there—
    The sweet cheat gone.
    • The Ghost.
  • Do diddle di do,
    Poor Jim Jay
    Got stuck fast
    In Yesterday.
    • Jim Jay.
  • It's a very odd thing&mdas;
    As odd as can be—
    That whatever Miss T. eats
    Turns into Miss T.
    • Miss T.
  • Three jolly huntsmen,
    In coats of red,
    Rode their horses
    Up to bed.
    • The Huntsmen.
  • Bang! Now the animal
    Is dead and dumb and done.
    Nevermore to peep again, creep again, leap again,
    Eat or sleep or drink again, oh, what fun!
    • Hi!
  • Wonderful lovely there she sat,
    Singing the night away,
    All in the solitudinous sea
    Of that there lonely bay.
    • Sam.
  • For beauty with sorrow
    Is a burden hard to be borne:
    The evening light on the foam, and the swans, there;
    That music, remote, forlorn.
    • The Old Summerhouse.
  • Some one came knocking
    At my wee, small door;
    Some one came knocking,
    I’m sure—sure—sure.
    • Some One Came Knocking.
  • Softly along the road of evening,
    In a twilight dim with rose,
    Wrinkled with age, and drenched with dew
    Old Nod, the shepherd, goes.
    • Nod.
  • His are the quiet steeps of dreamland,
    The waters of no-more-pain;
    His ram’s bell rings ‘neath an arch of stars,
    “Rest, rest, and rest again.”
    • Nod.
  • We wake and whisper awhile,
    But, the day gone by,
    Silence and sleep like fields
    Of amaranth lie.
    • All That's Past.
  • Oh, no man knows
    Through what wild centuries
    Roves back the rose.
    • All That's Past.
  • Old Rover in his moss-greened house
    Mumbles a bone, and barks at a mouse.
    • Summer Evening.
  • Dobbin at manger pulls his hay:
    Gone is another summer’s day.
    • Summer Evening.
  • All but blind
    In his chambered hole
    Gropes for worms
    The four-clawed Mole.
    • All But Blind.
  • So, blind to Someone
    I must be.
    • All But Blind.
  • What lovely things
    Thy hand hath made.
    • The Scribe.
  • “Bunches of grapes,” says Timothy;
    “Pomegranates pink,” says Elaine;
    “A junket of cream and a cranberry tart
    For me,” says Jane.
    • Bunches of Grapes.
  • “A bumpity ride in a wagon of hay”
    • Bunches of Grapes.
  • Poor tired Tim! It’s sad for him
    He lags the long bright morning through,
    Ever so tired of nothing to do.
    • Tired Tim.
  • ‘What is the world, O soldiers?
    It is I,
    I, this incessant snow,
    This northern sky.
    • Napoleon.

The Listeners (1912) edit

  • "Is anybody there?" said the Traveler,
    Knocking on the moonlit door;
    And his horse in the silence champed the grasses
    Of the forest's ferny floor.
  • "Tell them I came, and no one answered,
    That I kept my word," he said.
  • Never the least stir made the listeners,
    Though every word he spake
    Fell echoing through the shadowiness of the still house
    From the one man left awake:
    Aye, they heard his foot upon the stirrup,
    And the sound of iron on stone,
    And how the silence surged softly backward,
    When the plunging hoofs were gone.

The Song of the Mad Prince edit

  • Who said "Peacock Pie"?
    The old king to the sparrow:
    Who said "Crops are ripe"?
    Rust to the harrow.

    Who said, "Ay, mum's the word"?
    Sexton to willow.
    Who said, "Green dusk for dream?"
    Moss for a pillow.

    Who said, "All Time’s delight
    Hath she for narrow bed;
    Life’s troubled bubble broken"?—
    That’s what I said.

About Walter de la Mare edit

  • The delicate, invisible web you wove
    The inexplicable mystery of sound.
  • Or when the lawn
    Is pressed by unseen feet, and ghosts return
    Gently at twilight, gently go at dawn,
    The sad intangible who grieve and yearn...
    • T.S. Eliot, To Walter de la Mare.
  • Walter de la Mare's "The Listeners"-I will never forget that poem.
    • 1979 interview in Conversations with Audre Lorde (2004)
  • De la Mare’s poetry represents some of the finest, beautifully crafted, classical verse of the twentieth century.
    It is truly tragic that his poems remain largely neglected, forgotten as the world passed them by.

External links edit