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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Charles Stuart Calverley (1831–1884)

FOREVER! ’Tis a single word!

Our rude forefathers deemed it two;

Can you imagine so absurd

A view?

Forever! What abysms of woe

The word reveals, what frenzy, what

Despair! For ever (printed so)

Did not.

It looks, ah me! how trite and tame;

It fails to sadden or appall

Or solace—it is not the same

At all.

O thou to whom it first occurred

To solder the disjoined, and dower

Thy native language with a word

Of power:

We bless thee! Whether far or near

Thy dwelling, whether dark or fair

Thy kingly brow, is neither here

Nor there.

But in men’s hearts shall be thy throne,

While the great pulse of England beats:

Thou coiner of a word unknown

To Keats!

And nevermore must printer do

As men did long ago; but run

“For” into “ever,” bidding two

Be one.

Forever! passion-fraught, it throws

O’er the dim page a gloom, a glamour:

It’s sweet, it’s strange; and I suppose

It’s grammar.

Forever! ’Tis a single word!

And yet our fathers deemed it two:

Nor am I confident they erred;—

Are you?