Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When We Two Parted

When We Two Parted
George Gordon Byron, 1788 - 1824

 When we two parted 
   In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted 
   To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold, 
   Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold 
   Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning 
   Sunk chill on my brow-- 
It felt like the warning
   Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken, 
   And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken, 
   And share in its shame.

They name thee before me, 
   A knell to mine ear;
A shudder comes o’er me--
   Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee, 
   Who knew thee too well--
Long, long shall I rue thee, 
   Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met--
   In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget, 
   Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee 
   After long years,
How should I greet thee?--
   With silence and tears.


Susan said...

Lovely, haunting and so very sad. I miss your explanatory comments that always add so much to the enjoyment of the poem. But thank you for the sharing.

Joe said...

I mostly wanted the poem to speak for itself as its about two lovers who have parted but had conducted their love affair in secret. Though in this instance it ended badly, in my instance, it did not.

But here is the story behind it: in the years after the Battle of Waterloo, the Duke of Wellington had an affair with a certain woman. It was quite a public scandal. Apparently, Lord Byron had also had an affair with the same woman, and since he was a bit of a gossip wrote this poem about their love affair, not so subtly letting to be known who it was about.

Susan said...

I appreciate you taking the time to fill in the background, Joe. The poem did speak for itself, but those extra tidbits never go amiss. :)

JiEL said...

I was wondering if this was to say that you were splitting wit your BF (??)
Or maybe the way you're feeling about leaving your place in Alabama.

I don't want to be sneeking in your private life but what will be happening with your relationship as you're moving in Vermont ?

Joe said...

My boyfriend and I will remain very good friends, but it's quite clear that a relationship like we've had isn't sustainable over long distances, especially to this extreme. He realizes that this job and move is a tremendous opportunity, and I realize that he is not planning to leave his career and this part of Alabama. So we came to an impasse, but a very amicable one.

JiEL said...

This is sad for you two but at least you've gain a very good friend that will be able to visit you in Vermont.

Never know what the future has for you as nice surprises...

All my best regards.

Amanda said...

Thank you for the poem and backstory on it. I learn a lot about poetry from your posts. :)

Giac said...

I am sorry Jo!