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The One Before the Last
by Rupert Brooke (1887-1915)

I dreamt I was in love again
   With the One Before the Last,
And smiled to greet the pleasant pain
   Of that innocent young past.

But I jumped to feel how sharp had been
   The pain when it did live,
How the faded dreams of Nineteen-ten
   Were Hell in Nineteen-five.

The boy's woe was as keen and clear,
   The boy's love just as true,
And the One Before the Last, my dear,
   Hurt quite as much as you.

           *         *         *         *         *

Sickly I pondered how the lover
   Wrongs the unanswering tomb,
And sentimentalizes over
   What earned a better doom.

Gently he tombs the poor dim last time,
   Strews pinkish dust above,
And sighs, "The dear dead boyish pastime!
   But this---ah, God!---is Love!"

---Better oblivion hide dead true loves,
   Better the night enfold,
Than men, to eke the praise of new loves,
   Should lie about the old!

           *         *         *         *         *

Oh! bitter thoughts I had in plenty.
   But here's the worst of it---
I shall forget, in Nineteen-twenty,
   You ever hurt abit!

 

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