Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MEMORY (2), by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON

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MEMORY (2), by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I do not say bequeath unto my soul
Last Line: And now its only task is to remember.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia
Subject(s): Memory

I do not say bequeath unto my soul
Thy memory, -- I rather ask forgetting;
Withdraw, I pray, from me thy strong control,
Leave something in the wide world worth regretting.

I need my thoughts for other things than thee,
I dare not let thine image fill them only;
The hurried happiness it wakes in me
Will leave the hours that are to come more lonely.

I live not like the many of my kind;
Mine is a world of feelings and of fancies,
Fancies whose rainbow-empire is the mind,
Feelings that realize their own romances.

To dream and to create has been my fate,
Alone, apart from life's more busy scheming;
I fear to think that I may find too late
Vain was the toil, and idle was the dreaming.

Have I uprear'd my glorious pyre of thought,
Up to the heavens, but for my own entombing?
The fair and fragrant things that years have brought
Must they be gathered for my own consuming?

Oh! give me back the past that took no part
In the existence it was but surveying;
That knew not then of the awaken'd heart
Amid the life of other lives decaying.

Why should such be mine own? I sought it not:
More than content to live apart and lonely,
The feverish tumult of a loving lot,
Is what I wish'd, and thought to picture only.

Surely the spirit is its own free will;
What should o'ermaster mine to vain complying
With hopes that call down what they bring of ill,
With fears to their own questioning replying?

In vain, in vain! Fate is above us all;
We struggle, but what matters our endeavour?
Our doom is gone beyond our own recall,
May we deny or mitigate it? -- never!

And what art thou to me, -- thou who dost wake
The mind's still depths with trouble and repining?
Nothing; -- though all things now thy likeness take;
Nothing, -- and life has nothing worth resigning.

Ah, yes! one thing, thy memory; though grief
Watching the expiring beam of hope's last ember;
Life had one hour, -- bright, beautiful, and brief,
And now its only task is to remember.

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