Adam Lindsay Gordon

(19 October 1833 – 24 June 1870 / Azores)

Early Adieux


Adieu to kindred hearts and home,
To pleasure, joy, and mirth,
A fitter foot than mine to roam
Could scarcely tread the earth ;
For they are now so few indeed
(Not more than three in all),
Who e'er will think of me or heed
What fate may me befall.

For I through pleasure's paths have run
My headlong goal to win,
Nor pleasure's snares have cared to shun
When pleasure sweetened sin.
Let those who will their failings mask,
To mine I frankly own ;
But for them pardon will I ask
Of none—save Heaven alone.

From carping friends I turn aside ;
At foes defiance frown ;
Yet time may tame my stubborn pride,
And break my spirit down.
Still, if to error I incline,
Truth whispers comfort strong,
That never reckless act of mine
E'er worked a comrade wrong.

My mother is a stately dame,
Who oft would chide with me ;
She saith my riot bringeth shame,
And stains my pedigree.
I'd reck not what my friends might know,
Or what the world might say,
Did I but think some tears would flow
When I am far away.

Perchance my mother will recall
My mem'ry with a sigh ;
My gentle sister's tears may fall,
And dim her laughing eye ;
Perhaps a loving thought may gleam,
And fringe its saddened ray,
When, like a nightmare's troubled dream,
I, outcast, pass away.

Then once again farewell to those
Who e'er for me have sighed ;
For pleasures melt away like snows,
And hopes like shadows glide.
Adieu, my mother ! if no more
Thy son's face thou may'st see,
At least those many cares are o'er
So ofttimes caused by me.

My lot is fixed ! The die is cast !
For me home hath no joy !
Oh, pardon then all follies past,
And bless your wayward boy !
And thou, from whom for aye to part
Grieves more than tongue can tell,
May Heaven preserve thy guileless heart !
Sweet sister, fare thee well !

Thou, too, whose loving-kindness makes
My resolution less,
While from the bitter past it takes
One half its bitterness,
If e'er you held my mem'ry dear,
Grant this request, I pray—
Give to that mem'ry one bright tear,
And let it pass away.

Submitted: Friday, February 26, 2010

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