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The One Before the Last

by Rupert Brooke, 1916

I dreamt i was in love again
  With the One Before the Last,
And smiled to greet the pleasant pain
  Of that innocent young past.

But i jumped to feel how sharp had been
  The pain when it did live,
How the faded dreams of Nineteen-ten
  Were Hell in Nineteen-five.

The boy's woe was as keen and clear,
  The boy's love just as true,
And the One Before the Last, my dear,
  Hurt quite as much as you.

Sickly i pondered how the lover
  Wrongs the unanswering tomb,
And sentimentalizes over
  What earned a better doom.

Gently he tombs the poor dim last time,
  Strews pinkish dust above,
And sighs, "The dear dead boyish pastime!
  But this—ah, God!—is Love!"

—Better oblivion hide dead true loves,
  Better the night enfold,
Than men, to eke the praise of new loves,
  Should lie about the old!

Oh! bitter thoughts I had in plenty.
  But here's the worst of it—
I shall forget, in Nineteen-twenty,
You ever hurt abit!

Published in The Collected Poems of Rupert Brooke

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