Winthrop Mackworth Praed

(1802 - 1839 / England)

A Song Of Impossibilities


LADY, I loved you all last year,
How honestly and well --
Alas! would weary you to hear,
And torture me to tell;
I raved beneath the midnight sky,
I sang beneath the limes --
Orlando in my lunacy,
And Petrarch in my rhymes.
But all is over! When the sun
Dries up the boundless main,
When black is white, false-hearted one,
I may be yours again!

When passion's early hopes and fears
Are not derided things;
When truth is found in falling tears,
Or faith in golden rings;
When the dark Fates that rule our way
Instruct me where they hide
One woman that would ne'er betray,
One friend that never lied;
When summer shines without a cloud,
And bliss without a pain;
When worth is noticed in a crowd,
I may be yours again!

When science pours the light of day
Upon the lords of lands;
When Huskisson is heard to say
That Lethbridge understands;
When wrinkles work their way in youth
Or Eldon's in a hurry;
When lawyers represent the truth
Or Mr. Sumner Surrey;
When aldermen taste eloquence
Or bricklayers champagne;
When common law is common sense,
I may be yours again!

When learned judges play the beau,
Or learned pigs the tabor;
When traveller Bankes beats Cicero,
Or Mr. Bishop Weber;
When sinking funds discharge a debt,
Or female hands a bomb;
When bankrupts study the Gazette,
Or colleges Tom Thumb;
When little fishes learn to speak,
Or poets not to feign;
When Dr. Geldart construes Greek,
I may be yours again!

When Pole and Thornton honour cheques,
Or Mr. Const a rogue;
When Jericho's in Middlesex,
Or minuets in vogue;
When Highgate goes to Devonport,
Or fashion to Guildhall;
When argument is heard at Court,
Or Mr. Wynn at all;
When Sydney Smith forgets to jest,
Or farmers to complain;
When kings that are are not the best,
I may be yours again!

When peers from telling money shrink,
Or monks from telling lies;
When hydrogen begins to sink,
Or Grecian scrip to rise;
When German poets cease to dream,
Americans to guess;
When Freedom sheds her holy beam
On Negroes, and the Press;
When there is any fear of Rome,
Or any hope of Spain;
When Ireland is a happy home,
I may be yours again!

When you can cancel what has been,
Or alter what must be,
Or bring once more that vanished scene,
Those withered joys to me;
When you can tune the broken lute,
Or deck the blighted wreath,
Or rear the garden's richest fruit,
Upon a blasted heath;
When you can lure the wolf at bay
Back to his shattered chain,
To-day may then be yesterday --
I may be yours again!

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010
Edited: Saturday, May 07, 2011

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