Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. III. Sorrow and Consolation
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume III. Sorrow and Consolation.  1904.
 
II. Parting and Absence
Farewell to his Wife
Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
FARE thee well! and if forever,
  Still forever, fare thee well;
Even though unforgiving, never
  ’Gainst thee shall my heart rebel.
 
Would that breast were bared before thee        5
  Where thy head so oft hath lain,
While that placid sleep came o’er thee
  Which thou ne’er canst know again:
 
Would that breast, by thee glanced over,
  Every inmost thought could show!        10
Then thou wouldst at last discover
  ’T was not well to spurn it so.
 
Though the world for this commend thee,—
  Though it smile upon the blow,
Even its praises must offend thee,        15
  Founded on another’s woe:
 
Though my many faults defaced me,
  Could no other arm be found
Than the one which once embraced me,
  To inflict a cureless wound?        20
 
Yet, O, yet thyself deceived not:
  Love may sink by slow decay;
But by sudden wrench, believe not
  Hearts can thus be torn away:
 
Still thy own its life retaineth,—        25
  Still must mine, though bleeding, beat;
And the undying thought which paineth
  Is—that we no more may meet.
 
These are words of deeper sorrow
  Than the wail above the dead;        30
Both shall live, but every morrow
  Wake us from a widowed bed.
 
And when thou wouldst solace gather,
  When our child’s first accents flow,
Wilt thou teach her to say “Father!”        35
  Though his care she must forego?
 
When her little hands shall press thee,
  When her lip to thine is pressed,
Think of him whose prayer shall bless thee,
  Think of him thy love had blessed!        40
 
Should her lineaments resemble
  Those thou nevermore mayst see,
Then thy heart will softly tremble
  With a pulse yet true to me.
 
All my faults perchance thou knowest,        45
  All my madness none can know;
All my hopes, where’er thou goest,
  Wither, yet with thee they go.
 
Every feeling hath been shaken;
  Pride, which not a world could bow,        50
Bows to thee,—by thee forsaken,
  Even my soul forsakes me now;
 
But ’t is done; all words are idle,—
  Words from me are vainer still;
But the thoughts we cannot bridle        55
  Force their way without the will.
 
Fare thee well!—thus disunited,
  Torn from every nearer tie,
Seared in heart, and lone, and blighted,
  More than this I scarce can die.        60
 
 
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