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A Farewell
(12 June 1819 – 23 January 1875 / Devon, England)

A Farewell

I

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
No lark could pipe to skies so dull and grey:
Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you
For every day.

II

Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
And so make life, death, and that vast for-ever
One grand, sweet song.

User Rating: 3,0 / 5 ( 113 votes ) 38

Other poems of KINGSLEY (85)

Comments (38)

This poem is in the book " Best Loved Poems of the American People" by HAZEL FELLEMAN.I have had this book of poems for nearly 50 years-it is a treasure! My grandmother used to recite this poem me.
A primary school teacher wrote the first line of this in my autograph book over 50 years ago, and I have only just by accident found it’s source! At the time I was very upset, I didn’t want to be good, but to be clever! I’ve always remembered it and have spent my life ignoring the advice!
What's the occasion of the parting? The advice is almost like the idea (I think echoed by Nietzsche?) that one should live one's life as though crafting a work of art. Difficult to do on a monday morning in January, when everyone is being grumpy... But not a bad idea
My late Mum wrote this poem in my autograph book when I was quite young,Words that touch the heart.
What terrible dispiriting advice to a clever girl. Typical Victorian paternalistic drivel.
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