Verse > Anthologies > > Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. > The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse
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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
A Song of Parting
By M. Compton Mackenzie (1883–1972)
 
To F. C. M.

MY dear, the time has come to say
  Farewell to London town,
Farewell to each familiar street,
  The room where we look’d down
Upon the people going by,        5
  The river flowing fast:
The innumerable shine of lamps,
  The bridges and—our past.
 
Our past of London days and nights,
  When every night we dream’d        10
Of Love and Art and Happiness,
  And every day it seem’d,
Ah! little room, you held my life,
  In you I found my all;
A white hand on the mantelpiece,        15
  A shadow on the wall.
 
My dear, what dinners we have had,
  What cigarettes and wine
In faded corners of Soho,
  Your fingers touching mine!        20
And now the time has come to say
  Farewell to London town;
The prologue of our play is done,
  So ring the curtain down.
 
There lies a crowded life ahead        25
  In field and sleepy lane,
A fairer picture than we saw
  Framed in our window-pane.
There’ll be the stars on summer nights,
  The white moon thro’ the trees,        30
Moths, and the song of nightingales
  To float along the breeze.
 
And in the morning we shall see
  The swallows in the sun,
And hear the cuckoo on the hill        35
  Welcome a day begun.
And life will open with the rose
  For me, sweet, and for you,
And on our life and on the rose
  How soft the falling dew!        40
 
So let us take this tranquil path,
  But drop a parting tear
For town, whose greatest gift to us
  Was to be lovers here.
 
 
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