Maggie Tulliver [poem by John Shaw Neilson]

[Editor: This poem by John Shaw Neilson was published in Heart of Spring (1919) and Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson (1934).]

Maggie Tulliver

I see the old-time mill, the old-time miller,
The peaceful river in a pleasant land;
And you, the dark-eyed dear rebellious Maggie
They could not understand.

Love in the bud . . . hedgerows and English meadows . .
The sunlight’s flickering shadows gathering fast . . .
And your big tears because the world has gripped you,
The golden gates are passed.

Dreamer of many dreams from the beginning!
Eager to love, eager to spoil and spend!
Into your life God put a crooked lover
And pity, love’s old friend.

Anon I see a tall man proudly fashioned,
A full, sweet woman, lovable and fair . .
What of the path? Sweet flowers and sharp-edged perils
And bleeding hearts are there.

The world has branded you a false, foul sinner:
It is not merciful and you were rash . . .
Up at the whipping-post your white flesh trembled:
You felt the cruel lash!

In the last anguish does the Unseen Pity
See the long wrestlings of this flesh and blood?
— But Death was kind to you, dear dark-eyed Maggie
Who walked into the flood.

Shaw Neilson, Heart of Spring, The Bookfellow, Sydney, 1919, pages 27-28

Also published in:
John Shaw Neilson (editor: R. H. Croll), Collected Poems of John Shaw Neilson, Lothian Publishing Company, Melbourne, 1934 [May 1949 reprint], pages 27-28

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