Fare Thee Well

A poem by John Clare

[Clare's note:--"Scraps from my father and mother, completed."]

Here's a sad good bye for thee, my love,
To friends and foes a smile:
I leave but one regret behind,
That's left with thee the while,
But hopes that fortune is our friend
Already pays the toil.

Force bids me go, your friends to please.
Would they were not so high!
But be my lot on land or seas,
It matters not where by,
For I shall keep a thought for thee,
In my heart's core to lie.

Winter shall lose its frost and snow,
The spring its blossomed thorn,
The summer all its bloom forego,
The autumn hound and horn
Ere I will lose that thought of thee,
Or ever prove forsworn.

The dove shall change a hawk in kind,
The cuckoo change its tune,
The nightingale at Christmas sing,
The fieldfare come in June--
Ere I do change my love for thee
These things shall change as soon.

So keep your heart at ease, my love,
Nor waste a joy for me:
I'll ne'er prove false to thee, my love,
Till fish drown in the sea,
And birds forget to fly, my love,
And then I'll think of thee.

The red cock's wing may turn to grey,
The crow's to silver white,
The night itself may be for day,
And sunshine wake at night:
Till then--and then I'll prove more true
Than Nature, life, and light.

Though you may break your fondest vow,
And take your heart from me,
And though my heart should break to hear
What I may never see,
Yet never can'st thou break the link
That binds my love to thee.

So fare-thee-well, my own true love;
No vow from thee I crave,
But thee I never will forego,
Till no spark of life I have,
Nor will I ever thee forget
Till we both lie in the grave.

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