Portrait of Henry Timrod

Henry Timrod

Dec 8, 1828 - Oct 6, 1867


Song (When I bade thee adieu...)

by Henry Timrod

When I bade thee adieu, thou rememb'rest the time,
To depart for no distant or alien clime,
Oh! who would have deemed, as I sighed it in tears,
The farewell then spoken a farewell for years!

Yet, believe me, whatever those years may have brought
Of deadness to feeling, or sadness to thought,
And whatever the shame they have stamped on my brow,
No change ever touched my first passionate vow.

Still I've looked to thy love as men look to a star,
Which may never be reached, yet is worshipped afar,
And always in gladness, and always in gloom,
The star of thy smile was the star of my doom.

I have bowed, it is true, before many a shrine;
Have praised, and have sung charms less winning than thine,
But the song was ne'er more than a passionless glee,
I kept the soul's language -- my silence for thee.

And, indeed, if sometimes I gave more than a song,
Thou wast ever the cause, and must pardon the wrong,
For wherever a blue eye bewitchingly shone,
I saw in its beauty a type of thine own.

That falsehood is dead, and these follies have passed,
And again I come back to thee, dearest, at last,
With the feelings of one who hath circled the earth,
But to strengthen his love for the home of his birth.


Copyright 1860
Ticknor And Fields, Boston