Miscellaneous Poems

“Early Adieux”

Adam Lindsay Gordon

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
    Whoe’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.

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