To Marguerite

A poem by Matthew Arnold

We were apart: yet, day by day,
I bade my heart more constant be;
I bade it keep the world away,
And grow a home for only thee:
Nor fear’d but thy love likewise grew,
Like mine, each day more tried, more true.

The fault was grave: I might have known,
What far too soon, alas, I learn’d
The heart can bind itself alone,
And faith is often unreturn’d.
Self-sway’d our feelings ebb and swell:
Thou lov’est no more: Farewell! Farewell!

Farewell! and thou, thou lonely heart,
Which never yet without remorse
Even for a moment didn’t depart
From thy remote and spherèd course
To haunt the place where passions reign,
Back to thy solitude again!

Back, with the conscious thrill of shame
Which Luna felt, that summer night,
Flash through her pure immortal frame,
When she forsook the starry height
To hang over Endymion’ sleep
Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep;

Yet she, chaste Queen, had never prov’d
How vain a thing is mortal love,
Wandering in Heaven, far remov’d.
But thou hast long had place to prove
This truth to prove, and make thine own
Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone.

Or, if not quite alone, yet they
Which touch thee are unmating things
Ocean, and Clouds, and Night, and Day;
Lorn Autumns and triumphant Springs;
And life, and others’ joy and pain,
And love, if love, of happier men.

Of happier men for they, at least,
Have dream’d two human hearts might blend
In one, and were through faith releas’d
From isolation without end
Prolong’d, nor knew, although not less
Alone than thou, their loneliness.

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