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Rupert Chawner Brooke (Руперт Брук)

The One Before the Last

   I dreamt I was in love again
    With the One Before the Last,
   And smiled to greet the pleasant pain
    Of that innocent young past.

   But I jumped to feel how sharp had been
    The pain when it did live,
   How the faded dreams of Nineteen-ten
    Were Hell in Nineteen-five.

   The boy's woe was as keen and clear,
    The boy's love just as true,
   And the One Before the Last, my dear,
    Hurt quite as much as you.

        *    *    *    *    *

   Sickly I pondered how the lover
    Wrongs the unanswering tomb,
   And sentimentalizes over
    What earned a better doom.

   Gently he tombs the poor dim last time,
    Strews pinkish dust above,
   And sighs, "The dear dead boyish pastime!
    But THIS -- ah, God! -- is Love!"

   -- Better oblivion hide dead true loves,
    Better the night enfold,
   Than men, to eke the praise of new loves,
    Should lie about the old!

        *    *    *    *    *

   Oh! bitter thoughts I had in plenty.
    But here's the worst of it --
   I shall forget, in Nineteen-twenty,
    YOU ever hurt abit!

Rupert Chawner Brooke's other poems:
  1. Sonnet: in Time of Revolt
  2. Fafaia
  3. Song (Oh! Love, they said)
  4. The Dance
  5. The Way That Lovers Use

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