Absence

A poem by William Lisle Bowles

How shall I cheat the heavy hours, of thee
Deprived, of thy kind looks and converse sweet,
Now that the waving grove the dark storms beat,
And wintry winds sad sounding o'er the lea,[1]
Scatter the sallow leaf! I would believe,
Thou, at this hour, with tearful tenderness
Dost muse on absent images, and press
In thought my hand, and say: Oh do not grieve,
Friend of my heart! at wayward fortune's power;
One day we shall be happy, and each hour
Of pain forget, cheered by the summer ray.
These thoughts beguile my sorrow for thy loss,
And, as the aged pines their dark heads toss,
Oft steal the sense of solitude away.
So am I sadly soothed, yet do I cast
A wishful glance upon the seasons past,
And think how different was the happy tide,
When thou, with looks of love, wert smiling by my side.

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