Jean Ingelow

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

Songs With Preludes: Friendship - Poem by Jean Ingelow


Beautiful eyes,—­and shall I see no more
The living thought when it would leap from them,
And play in all its sweetness ’neath their lids?

Here was a man familiar with fair heights
That poets climb. Upon his peace the tears
And troubles of our race deep inroads made,
Yet life was sweet to him; he kept his heart
At home. Who saw his wife might well have thought,—­
“God loves this man. He chose a wife for him,—­
The true one!” O sweet eyes, that seem to live,
I know so much of you, tell me the rest!
Eyes full of fatherhood and tender care
For small, young children. Is a message here
That you would fain have sent, but had not time?
If such there be, I promise, by long love
And perfect friendship, by all trust that comes
Of understanding, that I will not fail,
No, nor delay to find it.
O, my heart
Will often pain me as for some strange fault,—­
Some grave defect in nature,—­when I think
How I, delighted, ’neath those olive-trees,
Moved to the music of the tideless main,
While, with sore weeping, in an island home
They laid that much-loved head beneath the sod,
And I did not know.

I stand on the bridge where last we stood
When young leaves played at their best.
The children called us from yonder wood,
And rock-doves crooned on the nest.

Ah, yet you call,—­in your gladness call,—­
And I hear your pattering feet;
It does not matter, matter at all,
You fatherless children sweet,—­

It does not matter at all to you,
Young hearts that pleasure besets;
The father sleeps, but the world is new,
The child of his love forgets.

I too, it may be, before they drop,
The leaves that flicker to-day,
Ere bountiful gleams make ripe the crop,
Shall pass from my place away:

Ere yon gray cygnet puts on her white,
Or snow lies soft on the wold,
Shall shut these eyes on the lovely light,
And leave the story untold.

Shall I tell it there? Ah, let that be,
For the warm pulse beats so high;
To love to-day, and to breathe and see,—­
To-morrow perhaps to die,—­

Leave it with God. But this I have known,
That sorrow is over soon;
Some in dark nights, sore weeping alone,
Forget by full of the moon.

But if all loved, as the few can love,
This world would seldom be well;
And who need wish, if he dwells above,
For a deep, a long death knell.

There are four or five, who, passing this place,
While they live will name me yet;
And when I am gone will think on my face,
And feel a kind of regret.

Comments about Songs With Preludes: Friendship by Jean Ingelow

There is no comment submitted by members..

Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Poem Submitted: Monday, May 14, 2012

Famous Poems

  1. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  3. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  4. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  5. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  6. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  7. Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  8. Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep
    Mary Elizabeth Frye
  9. I Do Not Love You Except Because I Love You
    Pablo Neruda
  10. Television
    Roald Dahl
[Report Error]