557. The Maid's Lament

Walter Savage Landor. 1775-1864

I LOVED him not; and yet now he is gone,
        I feel I am alone.
I check'd him while he spoke; yet, could he speak,
        Alas! I would not check.
For reasons not to love him once I sought,
        And wearied all my thought
To vex myself and him; I now would give
        My love, could he but live
Who lately lived for me, and when he found
        'Twas vain, in holy ground
He hid his face amid the shades of death.
        I waste for him my breath
Who wasted his for me; but mine returns,
        And this lorn bosom burns
With stifling heat, heaving it up in sleep,
        And waking me to weep
Tears that had melted his soft heart: for years
        Wept he as bitter tears.
'Merciful God!' such was his latest prayer,
        'These may she never share!'
Quieter is his breath, his breast more cold
        Than daisies in the mould,
Where children spell, athwart the churchyard gate,
        His name and life's brief date.
Pray for him, gentle souls, whoe'er you be,
        And, O, pray too for me!

The Oxford Book of English Verse, HTML edition