Aubrey De Vere (1814-1902)

return to sonnet central return to irish sonnets


Forgive me that I love you as I do,
Friend patient long; too patient to reprove
The inconvenience of superfluous love.
You feel that it molests you, and 'tis true.
In a light bark you sit, with a full crew.
Your life full orbed, compelled strange love to meet,
Becomes, by such addition, incomplete:--
Because I love I leave you. O adieu!
Perhaps when I am gone the thought of me
May sometimes be your acceptable guest.
Indeed you love me: but my company
Old time makes tedious; and to part is best.
Not without Nature's will are natures wed:-
O gentle Death, how dear thou makest the dead!

Troilus and Cressida

Had I been worthy of the love you gave,
That love withdrawn had left me sad but strong;
My heart had been as silent as my tongue,
My bed had been unfevered as my grave;
I had not striven for what I could not save;
Back, back to heaven my great hopes I had flung;
To have much suffered, having done no wrong,
Had seemed to me that noble part the brave
Account it ever. What this hour I am
Affirms the unworthiness that in me lurked:
Some sapping poison through my substance worked,
Some sin not trivial, though it lacked a name,
Which ratifies the deed that you have done
With plain approval. Other plea seek none.

Flowers I Would Bring

Flowers I would bring if flowers could make thee fairer,
And music if the Muse were dear to thee,
(For loving these would make thee love the bearer);
But sweetest songs forget their melody,
And loveliest flowers would but conceal the wearer:
A rose I marked, and might have plucked; but she
Blushed as she bent, imploring me to spare her,
Nor spoil her beauty by such rivalry.
Alas! and with what gifts shall I pursue thee,
What offerings bring, what treasures lay before thee,
When earth with all her floral train doth woo thee,
And all old poets and old songs adore thee,
And love to thee is naught; from passionate mood
Secured by joy's complacent plenitude.

The Mighty Mountain Plains

The mighty mountain plains have we two trod
Both in the glow of sunset and sunrise;
And lighted by the moon of southern skies
The snow-white torrent of the thundering flood
We two have watched together: In the wood
We two have felt the warm tears dim our eyes
While zephyrs softer than an infant's sighs
Ruffled the light air of our solitude.
O Earth, maternal Earth, and thou O Heaven,
And Night first born, who now, e'en now, dost waken
The host of stars, thy constellated train,
Tell me if those can ever be forgiven,
Those abject, who together have partaken
These Sacraments of Nature--and in vain?

The Sun God

I saw the Master of the Sun. He stood
High in his luminous car, himself more bright;
An Archer of immeasurable might
On his left shoulder hung his quivered load
Spurned by his Steeds the eastern mountain glowed
Forward his eager eye, and brow of light
He bent; and, while both hands that arch embowed,
Shaft after shaft pursued the flying Night.
No wings profaned that godlike form: around
His neck high held an ever-moving crowd
Of locks hung glistening: while such perfect sound
Fell from his bowstring, that th'ethereal dome
Thrilled as a dewdrop; and each passing cloud
Expanded, whitening like the ocean foam.


Count each affliction, whether light or grave,
God's messenger sent down to thee; do thou
With courtesy receive him; rise and bow
And ere his shadow pass thy threshold, crave
Permission first his heavenly feet to lave
Then lay before him all thou hast : Allow
No cloud of passion to usurp thy brow,
Or mar thy hospitality; no wave
Of mortal tumult to obliterate
The soul's marmoreal calmness: Grief should be,
Like joy, majestic, equable, sedate;
Confirming, cleansing, raising, making free;
Strong to consume small troubles; to commend
Great thoughts, grave thoughts, thoughts lasting to the end.