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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). A Victorian Anthology, 1837–1895. 1895.

William James Dawson b. 1854

Ideal Memory

IF in the years that come such thing should be

That we should part, with tears or deadly strife,

That we should cease to share a common life,

Or walk estranged in voiceless misery,

Then by this night of love remember me.

For tired hearts at last an end shall be,

For tired feet the pitfall grave doth wait:

Can we escape this common trick of fate?

More fortunate than all beside are we?

Wherefore by this night’s love remember me.

Not by my worst, when dull or bitterly

The mind moved, and the evil in my blood

Worked words of anger thy meek will withstood,

Not by the hours I sinned ’gainst love and thee,

Oh, not by these, dear love, remember me.

First in our mind live things that perfect be,

All shapes of joy or beauty,—day’s low light

Dying along the seaward edge of night,

The first sweet violet, music’s ecstasy,

Making the heart leap,—so remember me.

For I would have thy mind and memory

A chamber of sweet sounds and fragrances.

Let the ill pass: its power to hurt was less

Than joy’s to bless us. I remember thee

By thy first kiss; Oh, thus remember me!

There was an hour wherein a god’s degree

And stature seemed to clothe me, and I stood

Supremely strong, and high, and great, and good:

Oh, by that hour, when all I aimed to be

I did appear, by that remember me!