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Poem by William Ernest Henley


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You played and sang a snatch of song,
A song that all-too well we knew;
But whither had flown the ancient wrong;
And was it really I and you?
O, since the end of life's to live
And pay in pence the common debt,
What should it cost us to forgive
Whose daily task is to forget?

You babbled in the well-known voice -
Not new, not new the words you said.
You touched me off that famous poise,
That old effect, of neck and head.
Dear, was it really you and I?
In truth the riddle's ill to read,
So many are the deaths we die
Before we can be dead indeed.



William Ernest Henley


William Ernest Henley's other poems:
  1. A Wink from Hesper
  2. London Types: Bus Driver
  3. The Ways of Death Are Soothing and Serene
  4. In Rotten Row
  5. Praise The Generous Gods


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