Strike the bells solemnly,
Ding dong deep:
My friend is passing to his bed,
There’s plaited linen round his head, 20
While foremost go his feet—
His feet that cannot carry him.
My feast’s a show, my lights are dim;
Be still, your music is not sweet,—
There is no music more for him:
His lights are out, his feast is done;
His bowl that sparkled to the brim
Is drained, is broken, cannot hold;
My blood is chill, his blood is cold;
His death is full, and mine begun. 30
A blue-eyed phantom far before
Is laughing, leaping toward the sun:
Like lead I chase it evermore,
I pant and run.
It breaks the sunlight bound on bound:
Goes singing as it leaps along
To sheep-bells with a dreamy sound
A dreamy song.
I laugh, it is so brisk and gay;
It is so far before, I weep: 10
I hope I shall lie down some day,
Lie down and sleep.
‘No, thank you, John’
I never said I loved you, John:
Why will you tease me day by day,
And wax a weariness to think upon
With always ‘do’ and ‘pray’?
You know I never loved you, John;
No fault of mine made me your toast:
Why will you haunt me with a face as wan
As shows an hour-old ghost?
I dare say Meg or Moll would take
Pity upon you, if you’d ask: 10
And pray don’t remain single for my sake
Who can’t perform that task.
I have no heart?—Perhaps I have not;
But then you’re mad to take offence
That I don’t give you what I have not got:
Use your own common sense.
Let bygones be bygones:
Don’t call me false, who owed not to be true:
I’d rather answer ‘No’ to fifty Johns
Than answer ‘Yes’ to you. 20
Let’s mar our pleasant days no more,
Song-birds of passage, days of youth:
Catch at to-day, forget the days before:
I’ll wink at your untruth.
Let us strike hands as hearty friends;
No more, no less; and friendship’s good:
Only don’t keep in view ulterior ends,
And points not understood
In open treaty. Rise above
Quibbles and shuffling off and on: 30
Here’s friendship for you if you like; but love,—
No, thank you, John.
I cannot tell you how it was;
But this I know: it came to pass
Upon a bright and breezy day
When May was young; ah, pleasant May!
As yet the poppies were not born
Between the blades of tender corn;
The last eggs had not hatched as yet,
Nor any bird forgone its mate.