First Love’s Recollections by John Clare

First love will with the heart remain
When it its hopes are by,
As frail rose blossoms still retain
Their fragrance when they die;
And joy’s first dreams will haunt the mind
With the scenes ‘mid which they sprung,
As Summer leaves the stems behind
On which Spring’s blossoms clung.

I dare not call thee dear!
I’ve lost that right too long,
Yet once again I vex thine ear
With memory’s idle song.
I felt a pride to speak thy name
But now that pride is gone;
And burning blushes speak my shame,
That thus I love thee on.

How loth to part! how fond to meet
Had we two used to be!
At sunset with what happy feet
I hasten’d unto thee.
Scarce three days past, once ere we met
In Spring, nay, wintry weather;
Now three years’ suns have risen and set,
Nor found us once together.

Thy face was so familiar grown,
Thyself so often nigh;
A moment’s memory when alone
Would bring thee to mine eye;
But now my very dreams forget
That witching look to trace;
Though there thy beauty lingers yet
It wears a stranger face.

When last thy gentle cheek I prest,
And heard thee feign adieu,
I little thought a seeming jest
Would prove a word so true.
Such fate as this hath oft befel
E’en brighter hopes than ours;
Spring bids full many buds to swell
That ne’er can grow into flowers.


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