Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 9/"Burn this letter as soon as read"



Burn this letter as soon as read.
Consider all I say, unsaid.
Think of me as a wilful boy
Inebriate with a golden joy;
Daring to tell thee all his heart;
Trembling at his fool-hardy part
Madly chasing a fierce desire
Through earth and water, air and fire.
Ready to tend thee day and night
As his endless, sole delight:—
Ready to throw his life away
To add to thine a single day.


Burn this letter as soon as read.
Ne’er can its saying be unsaid.
Hate me,—if thy heart is fierce;
Mine with thine angry arrows pierce.
Trample me beneath thy scorn:
Wish that I had ne’er been born:
Bid me with a frown, to die,—
I will meet my destiny:
Or, if in a softer mood,
Banish me to solitude:
Only let me hear thy voice,
In my doom I will rejoice.


Burn this letter as soon as read.
Think of me as one who’s dead:
Lying straight beneath the grass
O’er which happy mortals pass:
Nevermore to vex thy sight;
Nevermore to dim thy light.
When in Spring, with moonbeam flood,
Primroses fill all the wood,
(Then I met thee!)—think, when slow
Sets the sun, and birds sing low,
Of that eve my heart beguiled,
When I whispered,—and you smiled.


Burn this letter. Thou art proud;
High thy race above the crowd.
Careless thou of others’ pain:
They must love—and thou disdain.
Thou canst light the lamp which none
Quencheth but the churchyard stone.
In thy hand is all my fate;
Thou must yield me love or hate.
All my fate is in thy hand:—
But my words for ever stand.
I love! Wouldst thou that love gainsay,
Then thou must tear my life away!

H. M.