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My Thyrza's pledge in better days,
When love and life alike were new! How different now thou meet'st my gaze !
How tinged by time with sorrow's hue ! The heart that gave itself with thee
Is silent-ah, were mine as still ! Though cold as e'en the dead can be, It feels, it sickens with the chill.
Thou bitter pledge! thou mournful token !
Though painful, welcome to my breast ! Still, still, preserve that love unbroken,
Or break the heart to which thou'rt press'd ! Time tempers love, but not removes,
More hallow'd when its hope is filed : Oh! what are thousand living loves
To that which cannot quit the dead?
When Time, or soon or late, shall bring
The dreamless sleep that lulls the dead, Oblivion ! may thy languid wing
Wave gently o'er my dying bed !
No band of friends or heirs be there,
To weep, or wish, the coming blow : No maiden, with dishevell’d hair,
To feel, or feign, decorous woe.
But silent let me sink to earth,
With no officious mourners near : I would not mar one hour of mirth,
Nor startle friendship with a fear.
Yet Love, if Love in such an hour
Could nobly check its useless sighs, Might then exert its latest power
In her who lives and him who dies.
'Twere sweet, my Psyche ! to the last
Thy features still serene to see : Forgetful of its struggles past,
E'en Pain itself should smile on thee.
But vain the wish—for Beauty still
Will shrink, as shrinks the ebbing breath; And woman's tears, produced at will,
Deceive in life, unman in death.
Then lonely be my latest hour,
Without regret, without a groan; For thousands Death hath ceased to lower,
And pain been transient or unknown.
“ Ay, but to die, and go,” alas !
Where all have gone, and all must go ! To be the nothing that I was
Ere born to life and living woe !
Count o'er the joys thine hours have seen,
Count o'er thy days from anguish free, And know, whatever thou hast been,
'Tis something better not to be.
AND THOU ART DEAD.
“Heu, quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse !"
AND thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
Too soon return'd to Earth!
In carelessness or mirth,
I will not ask where thou liest low,
Nor gaze upon the spot;
So I behold them not :
Like common earth can rot;
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor falsehood disavow :
The better days of life were ours ;
The worst can be but mine :
Shall never more be thine.
Nor need I to repine
The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd
Must fall the earliest prey ;
The leaves must drop away :
Than see it pluck'd to-day ;
I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauties fade;
Had worn a deeper shade.
Extinguish'd, not decay'd;
As once I wept, if I could weep,
My tears might well be shed,
One vigil o'er thy bed ;
Uphold thy drooping head;
Yet how much less it were to gain,
Though thou hast left me free,
Than thus remember thee !
Returns again to me,
WHEN WE TWO PARTED.
WHEN we two parted
In silence and tears,
To sever for years,
Colder thy kiss ;
Sorrow to this.