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WHEN Time, or soon or late, shall bring
No band of friends or heirs be there,
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
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,
"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,
And know, whatever thou hast been,
"Heu quanto minus est cum reliquis versari quam tui meminisse!"
AND thou art dead, as young and fair
As aught of mortal birth;
And form so soft, and charms so rare,
Though Earth received them in her bed,
There is an eye which could not brook
I will not ask where thou liest lów,
Nor gaze upon the spot;
There flowers or weeds at will may grow,
So I behold them not:
It is enough for me to prove
That what I loved and long must love
Like common earth can rot;
To me there needs no stone to tell,
'Tis Nothing that I loved so well.
Yet did I love thee to the last
As fervently as thou,
Who didst not change through all the past,
And canst not alter now.
The love where Death has set his seal,
Nor falsehood disavow:
And, what were worse, thou canst not see Or wrong, or change, or fault in me.
The better days of life were ours;
The worst can be but mine:
The sun that cheers, the storm that lowers, Shall never more be thine.
The silence of that dreamless sleep
envy now too much to weep;
Nor need I to repine
That all those charms have pass'd away; I might have watch'd through long decay.
The flower in ripen'd bloom unmatch'd
And yet it were a greater grief
I know not if I could have borne
To see thy beauties fade;
The night that follow'd such a morn
Thy day without a cloud hath past,
As stars that shoot along the sky
As once I wept, if I could weep
Yet how much less it were to gain,
The all of thine that cannot die
And more thy buried love endears