Listen, children: Your father is dead. From his old coatsI'll make you little jackets; I'll make you little trousersFrom his old pants. There'll be in his pocketsThings he used to put there, Keys and penniesCovered with tobacco; Dan shall have the penniesTo save in his bank; Anne shall have the keysTo make a pretty noise with. Life must go on, Though good men die; Anne, eat your breakfast; Dan, take your medicine; Life must go on; I forget just why.
What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why,I have forgotten, and what arms have lainUnder my head till morning, but the rainIs full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sighUpon the glass and listen for reply, And in my heart there stirs a quiet painFor unremembered lads that not againWill turn to me at midnight with a cry. Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree, Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: I cannot say what loves have come and gone,I only know that summer sang in meA little while, that in me sings no more.
Love is not all: It is not meat nor drinkNor slumber nor a roof against the rain, Nor yet a floating spar to men that sinkand rise and sink and rise and sink again. Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breathNor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone; Yet many a man is making friends with deatheven as I speak, for lack of love alone. It well may be that in a difficult hour, pinned down by need and moaning for releaseor nagged by want past resolution's power,I might be driven to sell your love for peace, Or trade the memory of this night for food. It may well be. I do not think I would.
Now goes under, and I watch it go under, the sunThat will not rise again. Today has seen the setting, in your eyes cold and senseless as the sea, Of friendship better than bread, and of bright charityThat lifts a man a little above the beasts that run. That this could be!That I should live to seeMost vulgar Pride, that stale obstreperous clown, So fitted out with purple robe and crownTo stand among his betters! Face to faceWith outraged me in this once holy place, Where Wisdom was a favoured guest and huntedTruth was harboured out of danger, He bulks enthroned, a lewd, an insupportable stranger!I would have sworn, indeed I swore it: The hills may shift, the waters may decline, Winter may twist the stem from the twig that bore it, But never your love from me, your hand from mine. Now goes under the sun, and I watch it go under. Farewell, sweet light, great wonder!You, too, farewell,-but fare not well enough to dreamYou have done wisely to invite the night before the darkness came.
Time does not bring relief; you all have liedWho told me time would ease me of my pain!I miss him in the weeping of the rain; I want him at the shrinking of the tide; The old snows melt from every mountain-side, And last year's leaves are smoke in every lane; But last year's bitter loving must remainHeaped on my heart, and my old thoughts abide!There are a hundred places where I fearTo go,--so with his memory they brim!And entering with relief some quiet placeWhere never fell his foot or shone his faceI say, 'There is no memory of him here!'And so stand stricken, so remembering him!
Moon, that against the lintel of the westYour forehead lean until the gate be swung, Longing to leave the world and be at rest, Being worn with faring and no longer young, Do you recall at all the Carian hillWhere worn with loving, loving late you lay, Halting the sun because you lingered still, While wondering candles lit the Carian day?Ah, if indeed this memory to your mindRecall some sweet employment, pity me, That even now the dawn's dim herald see!I charge you, goddess, in the name of oneYou loved as well: endure, hold off the sun.