Verse > Anthologies > T. R. Smith, ed. > Poetica Erotica: A Collection of Rare and Curious Amatory Verse
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T. R. Smith, comp.  Poetica Erotica: Rare and Curious Amatory Verse.  1921–22.
 
All Farewells Should Be Gently Spoken
By Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Nicolson) (1865–1904)
 
(From Stars of the Desert, 1904)

AY, smooth your hair for another lover,
  Refold the satin, restring the pearls,
Lest those who will take my place discover
  Discoloured tints and dishevelled curls.
 
Lift up those delicate lips that mine        5
  Reddened with kisses but yesterday,
Let others drink the dregs of the wine
  We two have tasted and flung away.
 
I wish you well; go gather the gold,
  The little triumphs you hold so dear,        10
For you the pasture, the sheltered fold;
  Ways smoothed by custom and fenced by fear.
 
You could not have lived aloof, afar
  In golden deserts, by lonely streams,
Be rich, be courted, be all you are,        15
  But seek not silence, nor love nor dreams.
 
Yet what am I that my song should shame you,
  What strength have I, that I call you weak?
Ah, Love alone has the right to blame you
  And He is a God and will not speak.        20
 
One thing there is yet to be glad of; Fate
  In making us one has not left us three.
No child shall inherit our love’s estate
  To be false like you or forlorn like me.
 
What if your sweet and treacherous eyes        25
  Had smiled at me from a child of mine
Your delicate lips, so apt at lies,
  Lived and laughed, a perpetual sign
 
Of fitful passion and frenzied hours
  That now are utterly passed away,        30
Dead and forgotten as last year’s flowers
  And all sweet things that have had their day.
 
Yet, last farewells should be gently spoken,
  And times of pleasure let no man grudge.
Of things once loved, though his heart be broken,        35
  A lover has never the right to judge.
 
 
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