Jealousy

By Rupert Brooke 1887–1915 Rupert Brooke
When I see you, who were so wise and cool,
Gazing with silly sickness on that fool
You’ve given your love to, your adoring hands
Touch his so intimately that each understands,
I know, most hidden things; and when I know
Your holiest dreams yield to the stupid bow
Of his red lips, and that the empty grace
Of those strong legs and arms, that rosy face,
Has beaten your heart to such a flame of love,
That you have given him every touch and move,
Wrinkle and secret of you, all your life,
—Oh! then I know I’m waiting, lover-wife,
For the great time when love is at a close,
And all its fruit’s to watch the thickening nose
And sweaty neck and dulling face and eye,
That are yours, and you, most surely, till you die!
Day after day you’ll sit with him and note
The greasier tie, the dingy wrinkling coat;
As prettiness turns to pomp, and strength to fat,
And love, love, love to habit!

                                                     And after that,
When all that’s fine in man is at an end,
And you, that loved young life and clean, must tend
A foul sick fumbling dribbling body and old,
When his rare lips hang flabby and can’t hold
Slobber, and you’re enduring that worst thing,
Senility’s queasy furtive love-making,
And searching those dear eyes for human meaning,
Propping the bald and helpless head, and cleaning
A scrap that life’s flung by, and love’s forgotten,—
Then you’ll be tired; and passion dead and rotten;
And he’ll be dirty, dirty!

                                                 O lithe and free
And lightfoot, that the poor heart cries to see,
That’s how I’ll see your man and you!—

                                                                         But you
—Oh, when that time comes, you’ll be dirty too!

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Poet Rupert Brooke 1887–1915

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Subjects Love, Heartache & Loss, Unrequited Love, Relationships, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Blank Verse

 Rupert  Brooke

Biography

Few writers have provoked as much excessive praise and scornful condemnation as English poet Rupert Brooke. Handsome, charming, and talented, Brooke was a national hero even before his death in 1915 at the age of twenty-seven. His poetry, with its unabashed patriotism and graceful lyricism, was revered in a country that was yet to feel the devastating effects of two world wars. Brooke's early death only solidified his image as . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Heartache & Loss, Unrequited Love, Relationships, Men & Women

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Georgian

Poetic Terms Blank Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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