Jean Ingelow

(17 March 1820 - 20 July 1897 / Boston, Lincolnshire)

Regret - Poem by Jean Ingelow

O that word REGRET!
There have been nights and morns when we have sighed,
“Let us alone, Regret! We are content
To throw thee all our past, so thou wilt sleep
For aye.” But it is patient, and it wakes;
It hath not learned to cry itself to sleep,
But plaineth on the bed that it is hard.

We did amiss when we did wish it gone
And over: sorrows humanize our race;
Tears are the showers that fertilize this world;
And memory of things precious keepeth warm
The heart that once did hold them.
They are poor
That have lost nothing; they are poorer far
Who, losing, have forgotten; they most poor
Of all, who lose and wish they MIGHT forget.

For life is one, and in its warp and woof
There runs a thread of gold that glitters fair,
And sometimes in the pattern shows most sweet
Where there are sombre colors. It is true
That we have wept. But O! this thread of gold,
We would not have it tarnish; let us turn
Oft and look back upon the wondrous web,
And when it shineth sometimes we shall know
That memory is possession.

I.
When I remember something which I had,
But which is gone, and I must do without,
I sometimes wonder how I can be glad,
Even in cowslip time when hedges sprout;
It makes me sigh to think on it,—­but yet
My days will not be better days, should I forget.

II.
When I remember something promised me,
But which I never had, nor can have now,
Because the promiser we no more see
In countries that accord with mortal vow;
When I remember this, I mourn,—­but yet
My happier days are not the days when I forget.


Comments about Regret by Jean Ingelow

  • (1/15/2016 4:51:00 AM)


    Tears are the showers that fertilize this world;
    And memory of things precious keepeth warm.
    Amazing diction and rhyme of these lines as also the whole thought provoking poem. Thanks for sharing.10 points.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012

Poem Edited: Monday, June 22, 2015


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