Faded Leaves

A poem by Matthew Arnold



Still glides the stream, slow drops the boat
Under the rustling poplars’ shade;
Silent the swans beside us float
None speaks, none heeds, ah, turn thy head.

Let those arch eyes now softly shine,
That mocking mouth grow sweetly bland:
Ah, let them rest, those eyes, on mine;
On mine let rest that lovely hand.

My pent-up tears oppress my brain,
My heart is swoln with love unsaid:
Ah, let me weep, and tell my pain,
And on thy shoulder rest my head.

Before I die, before the soul,
Which now is mine, must re-attain
Immunity from my control,
And wander round the world again:

Before this teas’d o’erlabour’d heart
For ever leaves its vain employ,
Dead to its deep habitual smart,
And dead to hopes of future joy.



Each on his own strict line we move,
And some find death ere they find love.
So far apart their lives are thrown
From the twin soul that halves their own.

And sometimes, by still harder fate,
The lovers meet, but meet too late.
, Thy heart is mine!, True, true! ah, true!
, Then, love, thy hand!, Ah, no! adieu!



Stop, Not to me, at this bitter departing,
Speak of the sure consolations of Time.
Fresh be the wound, still-renew’d be its smarting,
So but thy image endure in its prime.

But, if the stedfast commandment of Nature
Wills that remembrance should always decay;
If the lov’d form and the deep-cherish’d feature
Must, when unseen, from the soul fade away,

Me let no half-effac’d memories cumber!
Fled, fled at once, be all vestige of thee,
Deep be the darkness, and still be the slumber,
Dead be the Past and its phantoms to me!

Then, when we meet, and thy look strays towards me,
Scanning my face and the changes wrought there,,
Who, let me say, is this Stranger regards me,
With the grey eyes, and the lovely brown hair?



Vain is the effort to forget.
Some day I shall be cold, I know,
As is the eternal moon-lit snow
Of the high Alps, to which I go:
But ah, not yet! not yet!

Vain is the agony of grief.
’Tis true, indeed, an iron knot
Ties straitly up from mine thy lot,
And were it snapt, thou lov’st me not!
But is despair relief?

Awhile let me with thought have done;
And as this brimm’d unwrinkled Rhine
And that far purple mountain line
Lie sweetly in the look divine
Of the slow-sinking sun;

So let me lie, and calm as they
Let beam upon my inward view
Those eyes of deep, soft, lucent hue,
Eyes too expressive to be blue,
Too lovely to be grey.

Ah Quiet, all things feel thy balm!
Those blue hills too, this river’s flow,
Were restless once, but long ago.
Tam’d is their turbulent youthful glow:
Their joy is in their calm.



Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

Come, as thou cam’st a thousand times,
A messenger from radiant climes,
And smile on thy new world, and be
As kind to others as to me!

Or, as thou never cam’st in sooth,
Come now, and let me dream it truth,
And part my hair, and kiss my brow,
And say, My love! why sufferest thou?

Come to me in my dreams, and then
By day I shall be well again!
For so the night will more than pay
The hopeless longing of the day.

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