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Song of the Old Love by Jean Ingelow


"Song of the Old Love" is a song, or poem if you please, by Jean Ingelow about losing someone the narrator loves dearly due to death. The narrator speaks of how much they loved each other, but sadly the love has ended. However, hopefully, the love will continue once they meet again in the afterlife.

"Song of the Old Love" is a poem that consists of four stanzas divided into eight lines. These eight lines have the rhyme scheme ABABCDCD. Every other line of the poem is shorter than the one before it to express that it continues the previous lines thought while going onto the next.


Song of the Old Love

When sparrows build, and the leaves break forth,
My old sorrow wakes and cries,
For I know there is dawn in the far, far north,
And a scarlet sun doth rise;
Like a scarlet fleece the snow-field spreads,
And the icy founts run free,
And the bergs begin to bow their heads,
And plunge, and sail in the sea.

O my lost love, and my own, own love,
And my love that loved me so!
Is there never a chink in the world above
Where they listen for words from below?
Nay, I spoke once, and I grieved thee sore,
I remember all that I said,
And now thou wilt hear me no more - no more
Till the sea gives up her dead.

Thou didst set thy foot on the ship, and sail
To the ice-fields and the snow;
Thou wert sad, for thy love did naught avail,
And the end I could not know;
How could I tell I should love thee to-day,
Whom that day I held not dear?
How could I know I should love thee away
When I did not love thee anear?

We shall walk no more through the sodden plain
With the faded bents o'erspread,
We shall stand no more by the seething main
While the dark wrack drives o'erhead;
We shall part no more in the wind and the rain,
Where thy last farewell was said;
But perhaps I shall meet thee and know thee again
When the sea gives up her dead.

Published in 1898.

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