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Charles Stuart Calverley

(22 December 1831 – 17 February 1884 / Martley, Worchestershire)

Forever


"Forever": 'tis a single word!
Our rude forefathers deemed it two:
Can you imagine so absurd
A view?

"Forever"! What abysms of woe
The word reveals, what frenzy, what
Despair! "For ever" (printed so)
Did not.

It looks, ah me! how trite and tame!
It fails to sadden or appal
Or solace--it is not the same
At all.

O thou to whom it first occurred
To solder the disjoined, and dower
The native language with a word
Of power:

We bless thee! Whether far or near
Thy dwelling, whether dark or fair
Thy kingly brow, is neither here
Nor there.

But in men's hearts shall be thy throne,
While the great pulse of England beats.
Thou coiner of a word unknown
To Keats!

And nevermore must printer do
As men did long ago; but run
"For" into "ever," bidding two
Be one.

"Forever"! passion-fraught, it throws
O'er the dim page a gloom, a glamour:
It's sweet, it's strange; and I suppose
It's grammar.

"Forever"! 'Tis a single word!
And yet our fathers deemed it two:
Nor am I confident they erred;
Are you?

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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