Farewell to Matilda

By Thomas Love Peacock 1785–1866

              Oui, pour jamais
              Chassons l’image
              De la volage
              Que j’adorais.              PARNY.

Matilda, farewell! Fate has doom’d us to part,
But the prospect occasions no pang to my heart;
No longer is love with my reason at strife,
Though once thou wert dearer, far dearer than life.
 
As together we roam’d, I the passion confess’d,
Which thy beauty and virtue had rais’d in my breast;
That the passion was mutual thou mad’st me believe,
And I thought my Matilda could never deceive.
 
My Matilda! no, false one! my claims I resign:
Thou canst not, thou must not, thou shalt not be mine:
I now scorn thee as much as I lov’d thee before,
Nor sigh when I think I shall meet thee no more.
 
Though fair be thy form, thou no lovers wilt find,
While folly and falsehood inhabit thy mind,
Though coxcombs may flatter, though ideots may prize,
Thou art shunn’d by the good, and contemn’d by the wise.
 
Than mine what affection more fervent could be,
When I thought ev’ry virtue was center’d in thee?
Of the vows thou hast broken I will not complain,
For I mourn not the loss of a heart I disdain.
 
Oh! hadst thou but constant and amiable prov’d
As that fancied perfection I formerly lov’d,
Nor absence, nor time, though supreme their controul,
Could have dimm’d the dear image then stamp’d on my soul.
 
How bright were the pictures, untinted with shade,
By Hope’s glowing pencil on Fancy pourtray’d!
Sweet visions of bliss! which I could not retain;
For they, like thyself, were deceitful and vain.
 
Some other, perhaps, to Matilda is dear,
Some other, more pleasing, though not more sincere;
May he fix thy light passions, now wav’ring as air,
Then leave thee, inconstant, to shame and despair!
 
Repent not, Matilda, return not to me:
Unavailing thy grief, thy repentance will be:
In vain will thy vows or thy smiles be resum’d,
For love, once extinguish’d, is never relum’d.

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Poet Thomas Love Peacock 1785–1866

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Subjects Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Relationships, Men & Women

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

Biography

Thomas Love Peacock was an accomplished poet, essayist, opera critic, and satiric novelist. During his lifetime his works received the approbation of other writers (some of whom were Peacock’s friends and the targets of his satire), literary critics (many of whom were simply his targets), and a notoriously vocal reading public. Today, Peacock’s reputation rests almost exclusively on the merits of his seven novels, four of . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Love, Break-ups & Vexed Love, Relationships, Men & Women

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Victorian

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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