Song, from Child Harold

[Image : A Corner of the Oasis - Carry Akroyd]

No single hour can stand for nought
No moment hand can move
But calenders a aching thought
Of my first lonely love
Where silence doth the loudest call
My secrets to betray
As moonlight holds the night in thrall
As suns reveal the day

I hide it in the silent shades
Till silence finds a tongue
I make its grave where time invades
Till time becomes a song
I bid my foolish heart be still
But hopes will not be chid
My heart will beat—& burn—& chill
First love will not be hid

When summer ceases to be green
& winter bare & blea—
Death may forget what I have been
But I must cease to be
When words refuse before the crowd
My Marys name to give
The muse in silence sings aloud
& there my love will live

Child Harold (lines 493-516)
The Poems of John Clare,
ed. J. W. Tibble (2 volumes, Dent, 1935)

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