Phantasmagoria and Other Poems/A Valentine
[To a friend at Radley College, who had complained 'that I was glad enough to see him when he came, but did not seem to miss him if he stayed away.']
And cannot pleasures, while they last,
Be actual, unless, when past,
They leave us shuddering and aghast,
With anguish smarting?
And cannot friends be fond and fast,
And yet bear parting?
And must I then, at Friendship's call,
Calmly resign the little all
(Trifling, I grant, it is, and small)
I have of gladness,
And lend my being to the thrall
Of gloom and sadness?
And think you that I should be dumb,
And full 'dolorum omnium.'
Excepting when you choose to come
And share my dinner?
At other times be sour and glum,
And daily thinner?
Must he then only live to weep,
Who'd prove his friendship true and deep,
By day a lonely shadow creep,
At night rest badly,
Oft muttering in his broken sleep
The name of Radley?
The lover, if, for certain days,
His fair one be denied his gaze,
Sinks not in grief and wild amaze,
But, wiser wooer,
He spends the time in writing lays,
And posts them to her.
And if he be an Oxford Don,
Or 'Jonson's learned sock be on,'
A touching Valentine anon
The post shall carry,
When thirteen days are come and gone
Farewell, dear friend, and when we meet
In desert waste or crowded street,
Perhaps before this week shall fleet,
I trust to find your heart the seat
Of wasting sorrow.
Feb. 13, 1860.