I shall not forget you. The years may be tender,
But vain are their efforts to soften my smart;
And the strong hands of Time are too feeble and slender
To garland the grave that is made in my heart.
Your image is ever about me--before me,
Your voice floats abroad on the voice of the wind;
And the spell of your presence, in absence, is o'er me,
And the dead of the past, in the present I find.
I cannot forget you. The one boon ungiven,
The boon of your love, is the cross that I bear.
In the midnight of sorrow I vainly have striven
To crush in my heart the sweet image hid there;
To banish the beautiful dreams that are thronging
The halls of my memory--dreams worse than vain;
For the one drop withheld, I am thirsting and longing,
For the one joy denied, I am weeping in pain.
I would not forget you. I live to remember
The beautiful hopes that bloomed but to decay,
And brighter than June glows the bleakest December,
When peopled with ghosts of the dreams passed away.
Once loving you truly, I love you forever;
I mourn not in weak, idle grief for the past;
But the love in my bosom can never, oh never
Pass out, or another pass in, first or last.
Shells by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Milwaukee: Hauser & Storey, 1873.
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