Time, Hope And Memory

I heard a gentle maiden, in the spring,
Set her sweet sighs to music, and thus sing:
'Fly through the world, and I will follow thee,
Only for looks that may turn back on me;
'Only for roses that your chance may throw—
Though withered—Twill wear them on my brow,
To be a thoughtful fragrance to my brain,—
Warm'd with such love, that they will bloom again.'
'Thy love before thee, I must tread behind,
Kissing thy foot-prints, though to me unkind;
But trust not all her fondness, though it seem,
Lest thy true love should rest on a false dream.'
'Her face is smiling, and her voice is sweet;
But smiles betray, and music sings deceit;
And words speak false;—yet, if they welcome prove,
I'll be their echo, and repeat their love.'
'Only if waken'd to sad truth, at last,
The bitterness to come, and sweetness past;
When thou art vext, then turn again, and see
Thou hast loved Hope, but Memory loved thee.'

by Thomas Hood

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