IF SOMETIMES IN THE HAUNTS OF MEN
March 14, 1812
If sometimes in the haunts of men
Thine image from my breast may fade,
The lonely hour presents again
The semblance of thy gentle shade:
And now that sad and silent hour
Thus much of thee can still restore,
And sorrow unobserved may pour
The plaint she dare not speak before.
Oh, pardon that in crowds awhile
I waste one thought I owe to thee,
And self-condemn'd, appear to smile,
Unfaithful to thy memory;
Nor deem that memory less dear,
That then I seem not to repine;
I would not fools should overhear
One sigh that should be wholly thine.
If not the goblet pass unquaff'd,
It is not drain'd to banish care;
The cup must hold a deadlier draught,
That brings a Lethe for despair.
And could Oblivion set my soul
From all her troubled vision free,
I'd dash to earth the sweetest bowl
That drown'd a single thought of thee.
For wert thou vanish'd from my mind.
Where could my vacant bosom turn?
And who would then remain behind
To honour thine abandon'd Urn?
No, No --- it is my sorrow's pride
That last dear duty to fulfil:
Though all the world forget beside,
'Tis meeting that I remember still.
For well I know, that such had been
Thy gentle care for him, who now
Unmourn'd shall quit this mortal scene,
Where none regarded him, but thou:
And, oh! I feel in that was given
A blessing never meant for me;
Thou wert too like a dream of Heaven
For earthly Love to merit thee.