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George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788-1824)

        When We Two Parted


      WHEN we two parted
          In silence and tears,
      Half broken-hearted
          To sever for years,
      Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
          Colder thy kiss;
      Truly that hour foretold
          Sorrow to this.


      The dew of the morning
          Sunk chill on my brow —
      It felt like the warning
          Of what I feel now.
      Thy vows are all broken,
          And light is thy fame:
      I hear thy name spoken,
          And share in its shame.


      They name thee before me,
          A knell to mine ear;
      A shudder comes o'er me —
          Why wert thou so dear?
      They know not I knew thee,
          Who knew thee too well: —
      Long, long shall I rue thee,
          Too deeply to tell.


      In secret we met —
          In silence I grieve,
      That thy heart could forget,
          Thy spirit deceive.
      If I should meet thee
          After long years,
      How should I greet thee? —
          With silence and tears.


Lord Byron was the 6th Baron Byron. The above poem was written concerning the alleged relationship between Lady Frances Webster (whom Byron was attracted to) and the Duke of Wellington.

It can be found in:

  • Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron Selected Poems and Letters. William H. Marshall, ed. New York: New York University Press, 1977.
  • Ferguson, Margaret, Mary Jo Salter, and Jon Stallworthy, eds. The Norton Anthology of Poetry (Fourth Edition). New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1996.