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Winthrop Mackworth Praed (Уинтроп Макворт Прейд)

A Song of Impossibilities

LADY, I loved you all last year,
    How honestly and well -- 
Alas! would weary you to hear,
    And torture me to tell; 
I raved beneath the midnight sky,
    I sang beneath the limes -- 
Orlando in my lunacy,
    And Petrarch in my rhymes. 
But all is over! When the sun
    Dries up the boundless main, 
When black is white, false-hearted one,
    I may be yours again!

When passion's early hopes and fears
    Are not derided things; 
When truth is found in falling tears,
    Or faith in golden rings; 
When the dark Fates that rule our way
    Instruct me where they hide 
One woman that would ne'er betray,
    One friend that never lied; 
When summer shines without a cloud,
    And bliss without a pain; 
When worth is noticed in a crowd,
    I may be yours again!

When science pours the light of day
    Upon the lords of lands; 
When Huskisson is heard to say
    That Lethbridge understands; 
When wrinkles work their way in youth
    Or Eldon's in a hurry; 
When lawyers represent the truth
    Or Mr. Sumner Surrey; 
When aldermen taste eloquence
    Or bricklayers champagne; 
When common law is common sense,
    I may be yours again!

When learned judges play the beau,
    Or learned pigs the tabor; 
When traveller Bankes beats Cicero,
    Or Mr. Bishop Weber; 
When sinking funds discharge a debt,
    Or female hands a bomb; 
When bankrupts study the Gazette,
    Or colleges Tom Thumb; 
When little fishes learn to speak,
    Or poets not to feign; 
When Dr. Geldart construes Greek,
    I may be yours again!

When Pole and Thornton honour cheques,
    Or Mr. Const a rogue; 
When Jericho's in Middlesex,
    Or minuets in vogue; 
When Highgate goes to Devonport,
    Or fashion to Guildhall; 
When argument is heard at Court,
    Or Mr. Wynn at all; 
When Sydney Smith forgets to jest,
    Or farmers to complain; 
When kings that are are not the best,
    I may be yours again!

When peers from telling money shrink,
    Or monks from telling lies; 
When hydrogen begins to sink,
    Or Grecian scrip to rise; 
When German poets cease to dream,
    Americans to guess; 
When Freedom sheds her holy beam
    On Negroes, and the Press; 
When there is any fear of Rome,
    Or any hope of Spain; 
When Ireland is a happy home,
    I may be yours again!

When you can cancel what has been,
    Or alter what must be, 
Or bring once more that vanished scene,
    Those withered joys to me; 
When you can tune the broken lute,
    Or deck the blighted wreath, 
Or rear the garden's richest fruit,
    Upon a blasted heath; 
When you can lure the wolf at bay
    Back to his shattered chain, 
To-day may then be yesterday --
    I may be yours again!

Winthrop Mackworth Praed's other poems:
  1. A Letter of Advice
  2. The Vicar
  3. The Newly-Wedded
  4. The Belle of the Ball Room
  5. The Talented Man

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