A Farewell Poem by Charles Kingsley

A Farewell

Rating: 3.0


I

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
No lark could pipe to skies so dull and grey:
Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you
For every day.

II

Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
And so make life, death, and that vast for-ever
One grand, sweet song.

Friday, January 3, 2003
Topic(s) of this poem: farewell
COMMENTS OF THE POEM
Susan Williams 18 December 2015

The greatest wish a father could have for his child- that the child live his morals not merely mouth them

21 0 Reply
Kevin Straw 14 December 2009

Summarises the suspicion the English hold for the intellectual. One of their put-downs is 'He is too clever by half'. Yet it did not prevent Shakespeare, Newton and Darwin to appear mysteriously in their midst!

5 10 Reply
Cs Vishwanathan 14 December 2010

As a schoolboy I had to read some of his poems in my English texts.All his poems were quite accessible to us children. The reason is plain o see - simplicity of presentation and reasoning and easily voiced rhymes. It is not that the British mistrusted intellectuals - some of the greatest post-renaissance intellectuals have been British - but they were generally wary of irrelevant and overweening sophistry. The epithet 'too clever by half' was reserved for people with such predilections. The freedom of expression was nowhere better practised than in England.

9 4 Reply
Pranab K Chakraborty 14 December 2011

Brilliant to cross the intelligent ambushes. Much polite to combat arrogant...way of ignoring is unique for the generations who want to materialise the truths to life. Nice indeed.

8 4 Reply
Michael Pruchnicki 14 December 2009

It's beyond me that 'A Farewell' constitutes a summary of British attitudes about intellectuals, but then I'm an American, so what do I know about things English? By the way, Shakespeare was truly a literary genius - his star outshone those of Newton and Darwin (?) and whomever you admire!

8 4 Reply
Ruth Hamill 10 September 2020

65 years ago, my mother wrote this poem (second half) in my autograph book and I never really understood it. I was 11 or 12 and was just glad to have her handwriting because she died all too soon of cancer when I was 12. It makes more sense to see it in context with other's remarks. I appreciate it all the more now and will be sure to pass it on when my grandsons have daughters (soon I hope!) . The sentiment is beautiful.

0 0 Reply
Rajnish Manga 11 August 2020

Sweet and lovely advice from a father to his loving daughter. Quite inspiring. Thanks.

0 0 Reply
N Wright 17 December 2019

This poem is in the book " Best Loved Poems of the American People" by HAZEL FELLEMAN.I have had this book of poems for nearly 50 years-it is a treasure! My grandmother used to recite this poem me.

0 0 Reply
Chris Yexley 27 June 2019

A primary school teacher wrote the first line of this in my autograph book over 50 years ago, and I have only just by accident found it’s source! At the time I was very upset, I didn’t want to be good, but to be clever! I’ve always remembered it and have spent my life ignoring the advice!

2 0 Reply
Captain Clegg 20 January 2019

What's the occasion of the parting? The advice is almost like the idea (I think echoed by Nietzsche?) that one should live one's life as though crafting a work of art. Difficult to do on a monday morning in January, when everyone is being grumpy... But not a bad idea

0 1 Reply
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