Oh! yes, I will own we were dear to each other;
The friendships of childhood, though fleeting, are true;
The love which you felt was the love of a brother,
Nor less the affection I cherish'd for you.
But Friendship can vary her gentle dominion;
The attachment of years, in a moment expires:
Like Love, too, she moves on a swift-waving pinion,
But glows not, like Love, with unquenchable fires.
Full oft have we wander'd through Ida together,
And blest were the scenes of our youth, I allow:
In the spring of our life, how serene is the weather!
But Winter's rude tempests are gathering now.
No more with Affection shall Memory blending,
The wonted delights of our childhood retrace:
When Pride steels the bosom, the heart is unbending,
And what would be Justice appears a disgrace.
However, dear George, for I still must esteem you - ii
The few, whom I love, I can never upbraid;
The chance, which has lost, may in future redeem you,
Repentance will cancel the vow you have made.
I will not complain, and though chill'd is affection,
With me no corroding resentment shall live:
My bosom is calm'd by the simple reflection,
That both may be wrong, and that both should forgive.
You knew, that my soul, that my heart, my existence,
If danger demanded, were wholly your own;
You knew me unalter'd, by years or by distance,
Devoted to love and to friendship alone.
You knew, - but away with the vain retrospection!
The bond of affection no longer endures;
Too late you may droop o'er the fond recollection,
And sigh for the friend, who was formerly yours.
For the present, we part, - I will hope not for ever; 1
For time and regret will restore you at last:
To forget our dissension we both should endeavour,
I ask no atonement, but days like the past.
Footnote 1: See Byron's Letter to Lord Clare of February 6, 1807, referred to in 'note' 2, p. 100.
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'Hours of Idleness, Poems O. and Translated
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'Hours of Idleness, Poems O. and Translated'.