Hearts by Adelaide Anne Procter

I.

A trinket made like a Heart, dear,
Of red gold, bright and fine,
Was given to me for a keepsake,
Given to me for mine.

And another heart, warm and tender,
As true as a heart could be;
And every throb that stirred it
Was always and all for me.

Sailing over the waters,
Watching the far blue land,
I dropped my golden heart, dear,
Dropped it out of my hand!

It lies in the cold blue waters,
Fathoms and fathoms deep,
The golden heart which I promised,
Promised to prize and keep.

Gazing at Life’s bright visions,
So false, and fair, and new,
I forgot the other heart, dear,
Forgot it and lost it too!

I might seek that heart for ever,
I might seek and seek in vain;–
And for one short, careless hour,
I pay with a life of pain.

II.

The Heart?–Yes I wore it
As sign and as token
Of a love that once gave it,
A vow that was spoken;
But a love, and a vow, and a heart
Can be broken.

The Love?–Life and Death
Are crushed into a day,
So what wonder that Love
Should as soon pass away–
What wonder I saw it
Fade, fail, and decay.

The Vow?–why what was it,
It snapped like a thread:
Who cares for the corpse
When the spirit is fled?
Then I said, “Let the Dead rise
And bury its dead,

“While the true, living future
Grows pure, wise, and strong”
So I cast the gold heart,
I had worn for so long,
In the Lake, and bound on it
A Stone–and a Wrong!

III.

Look, this little golden Heart
Was a true-love shrine
For a tress of hair; I held them,
Heart and tress, as mine,
Like the Love which gave the token
See to-day the Heart is broken!

See also  Amoretti: Sonnet 44 by Edmund Spenser

Broken is the golden heart,
Lost the tress of hair;
Ah, the shrine is empty, vacant,
Desolate, and bare!
So the token should depart,
When Love dies within the heart.

Fast and deep the river floweth,
Floweth to the west;
I will cast the golden trinket
In its cold dark breast,–
Flow, oh river, deep and fast,
Over all the buried past!

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