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Short poem

Charles Kingsley (1819-1875)

A Farewell

              1My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
              2No lark could pipe to skies so dull and grey:
              3Yet, ere we part, one lesson I can leave you
              4      For every day.

              5Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever;
              6Do noble things, not dream them, all day long:
              7And so make life, death, and that vast for-ever
              8      One grand, sweet song.


1] Kingsley's collected works include a revised version of this work, entitled "A Farewell To C. E. G.", in Poems (London: Macmillan, 1889): 284, but it is debatable whether or not it improves on the original.

My fairest child, I have no song to give you;
    No lark could pipe in skies so dull and gray;
Yet, if you will, one quiet hint I'll leave you,
            For every day.

I'll tell you how to sing a clearer carol
    Than lark who hails the dawn or breezy down;
To earn yourself a purer poet's laurel
            Than Shakespeare's crown.

Be good, sweet maid, and let who can be clever;
    Do lovely things, not dream them, all day long;
And so make Life, and Death, and that For Ever,
            One grand sweet song.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Andromeda and Other Poems (London: John W. Parker, 1858): 64. PR 4842 .A5 Robarts Library
First publication date: 1858
RPO poem editor: Ian Lancashire
RP edition: RPO 2001
Recent editing: 2:2002/1/9

Rhyme: abab

Other poems by Charles Kingsley