Mild Is the Parting Year
- Mild is the parting year, and sweet
- The odour of the falling spray;
- Life passes on more rudely fleet,
- And balmless is its closing day.
- I wait its close, I court its gloom,
- But mourn that never must there fall
- Or on my breast or on my tomb
- The tear that would have soothed it all.
- Where art thou gone, light-ankled Youth?
- With wing at either shoulder,
- And smile that never left thy mouth
- Until the Hours grew colder:
- Then somewhat seem’d to whisper near
- That thou and I must part;
- I doubted it; I felt no fear,
- No weight upon the heart.
- If aught befell it, Love was by
- And roll’d it off again;
- So, if there ever was a sigh,
- ’T was not a sigh of pain.
- I may not call thee back; but thou
- Returnest when the hand
- Of gentle Sleep waves o’er my brow
- His poppy-crested wand;
- Then smiling eyes bend over mine,
- Then lips once press’d invite;
- But sleep hath given a silent sign,
- And both, alas! take flight.
- Remain, ah not in youth alone,
- Though youth, where you are, long will stay,
- But when my summer days are gone,
- And my autumnal haste away.
- “Can I be always by your side?”
- No; but the hours you can, you must,
- Nor rise at Death’s approaching stride,
- Nor go when dust is gone to dust.
Walter Savage Landor (1775-1864) was an English poet who is best known for his poem “Rose Aylmer” and his collection of prose pieces Imaginary Conversations, which depicts discussions by historical contemporaries, mostly from ancient Greece and Rome. Both critically and publicly acclaimed for his poetry, Landor published verse in both English and Latin, leading Charles Swineburne to remark that “he could not write a note of three lines which did not bear the mark of his Roman hand in its matchless and inimitable command of a style at once the most powerful and the purest of his age.”