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

John Payne (1842–1916)

Madrigal Triste

IF we should meet,

You and I,

My sweet,

In some fair land where under the blue sky

The scents of the fresh violets never die,

And Spring is deathless under deathless feet,

Should we clasp hands and kiss,

My sweet,

With the old bliss?

Would our eyes meet

With the same passionate frankness as of old,

When the fresh Spring was in the Summer’s gold?

Ah, no, my dear!

Woe’s me! our kisses are but frore;

The blossoms of our early love are sere,

And will be fresh no more.

If we should stand,

You and I,

My sweet,

On that bright strand

Where day fades never, and the golden street

Rings to the music of the angels’ feet,

Would our rent hearts find solace in the sky?

Should we lose heed,

My dear,

Of the sad years?

Would our souls cease to bleed

For the past anguish, and our eyes grow clear

In heaven from all the furrows of the tears?

Ah, no, my dear!

Needs must we sigh and stand aloof!

Once riven,

God could not heal our love,

Even in heaven.