Would that breast were bared before thee
Where thy head so oft hath lain,
While that placid sleep came o'er thee
Which thou ne'er canst know again:
Would that breast, by thee glanced over,
Every inmost thought could show!10
Then thou would'st at last discover
'Twas not well to spurn it so.
Though the world for this commend thee—
Though it smile upon the blow,
Even its praises must offend thee,
Founded on another's woe:
Though my many faults defaced me,
Could no other arm be found,
Than the one which once embraced me,
To inflict a cureless wound?20
Yet, oh yet, thyself deceive not—
Love may sink by slow decay,
But by sudden wrench, believe not
Hearts can thus be torn away:
- Thou my breast laid bare before thee.—[MS. erased.]
- Not a thought is pondering on thee.—[MS. erased.]
- [Lines 13-20 do not appear in an early copy dated March 18, l816. They were added on the margin of a proof dated April 4, 1816.]
first, for it is incomplete, and every line (almost) tortured with alterations. "Fare Thee Well!" was printed in Leigh Hunt's Examiner, April 21, 1816, at the end of an article (by L. H.) entitled "Distressing Circumstances in High Life." The text there has two readings different from that of the pamphlet, viz.—
Examiner: "Than the soft one which embraced me."
Pamphlet: "Than the one which once embraced me."
Examiner: "Yet the thoughts we cannot bridle."
Pamphlet: "But," etc.
—MS. Notes taken by the late J. Dykes Campbell at Sotheby's, April l8, 1890, and re-transcribed for Mr. Murray, June 15, 1894.
A final proof, dated April 7, 1816, was endorsed by Murray, "Correct 50 copies as early as you can to-morrow."]