Adelaide Anne Procter (30 October 1825 – 2 February 1864 / London)
You have taken back the promise
That you spoke so long ago;
Taken back the heart you gave me-
I must even let it go.
Where Love once has breathed, Pride dieth,
So I struggled, but in vain,
First to keep the links together,
Then to piece the broken chain.
But it might not be-so freely
All your friendship I restore,
And the heart that I had taken
As my own forevermore.
No shade of reproach shall touch you,
Dread no more a claim from me-
But I will not have you fancy
That I count myself as free.
I am bound by the old promise;
What can break that golden chain?
Not even the words that you have spoken,
Or the sharpness of my pain:
Do you think, because you fail me
And draw back your hand today,
That from out the heart I gave you
My strong love can fade away?
It will live. No eyes may see it;
In my soul it will lie deep,
Hidden from all; but I shall feel it
Often stirring in its sleep.
So remember that the friendship
Which you now think poor and vain,
Will endure in hope and patience,
Till you ask for it again.
Perhaps in some long twilight hour,
Like those we have known of old,
When past shadows gather round you,
And your present friends grow cold,
You may stretch your hands out towards me-
Ahl You will-I know not when-
I shall nurse my love and keep it
Faithfully, for you, till then.
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