To Edward Williams
Published in Ascham's edition of the "Poems", 1834. There is a copy amongst the Trelawny manuscripts.
1. The serpent is shut out from Paradise. The wounded deer must seek the herb no more In which its heart-cure lies: The widowed dove must cease to haunt a bower Like that from which its mate with feigned sighs Fled in the April hour. I too must seldom seek again Near happy friends a mitigated pain.
2. Of hatred I am proud,—with scorn content; Indifference, that once hurt me, now is grown Itself indifferent; But, not to speak of love, pity alone Can break a spirit already more than bent. The miserable one Turns the mind's poison into food,— Its medicine is tears,—its evil good.
3. Therefore, if now I see you seldomer, Dear friends, dear FRIEND! know that I only fly Your looks, because they stir Griefs that should sleep, and hopes that cannot die: The very comfort that they minister I scarce can bear, yet I, So deeply is the arrow gone, Should quickly perish if it were withdrawn.
4. When I return to my cold home, you ask Why I am not as I have ever been. YOU spoil me for the task Of acting a forced part in life's dull scene,— Of wearing on my brow the idle mask Of author, great or mean, In the world's carnival. I sought Peace thus, and but in you I found it not.
5. Full half an hour, to-day, I tried my lot With various flowers, and every one still said, 'She loves me—loves me not.' And if this meant a vision long since fled— If it meant fortune, fame, or peace of thought— If it meant,—but I dread To speak what you may know too well: Still there was truth in the sad oracle.
6. The crane o'er seas and forests seeks her home; No bird so wild but has its quiet nest, When it no more would roam; The sleepless billows on the ocean's breast Break like a bursting heart, and die in foam, And thus at length find rest: Doubtless there is a place of peace Where MY weak heart and all its throbs will cease.
7. I asked her, yesterday, if she believed That I had resolution. One who HAD Would ne'er have thus relieved His heart with words,—but what his judgement bade Would do, and leave the scorner unrelieved. These verses are too sad To send to you, but that I know, Happy yourself, you feel another's woe.
NOTES: _10 Indifference, which once hurt me, is now grown Trelawny manuscript. _18 Dear friends, dear friend Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd edition; Dear gentle friend 1834, 1839, 1st edition. _26 ever]lately Trelawny manuscript. _28 in Trelawny manuscript; on 1834, editions 1839, _43 When 1839, 2nd edition; Whence 1834, 1839, 1st edition. _48 will 1839, 2nd edition; shall 1834, 1839, 1st edition. _53 unrelieved Trelawny manuscript, 1839, 2nd. edition; unreprieved 1834, 1839, 1st edition. _54 are]were Trelawny manuscript.