Littell's Living Age/Volume 173/Issue 2244/The Ebb of Love

Originally published in Spectator.

A love that wanes is as an ebbing tide,
Which slowly, inch by inch, and scarce perceived,
With many a wave that makes brave show to rise,
Fails from the shore. No sudden treason turns
The long-accustomed loyalty to hate,
But years bring weariness for sweet content,
And fondness, daily sustenance of love,
Which use should make a tribute easier paid,
First grudged, and then withholden, starves the heart;
And though compassion, or remorseful thoughts
Of happy days departed, bring again
The ancient tenderness in seeming flood,
Not less it ebbs and ebbs till all is bare.
O happy shore, the flowing tide shall brim
Thy empty pools, and spread dull tangled weeds
In streamers many-colored as the lights
Which flash in northern heavens, and revive
The fainting blossoms of the rocks; but thou,
O heart, whence love hath ebbed, art ever bare!