How shall I bid you good--bye,
Dear, without tears?
Only once in the years,
The idle vanishing years,
We met, with Eternity standing by,
And loved, a little forgotten space,
I for the sake of your beautiful face,
You I hardly know how or why,
Or whether you loved me indeed, alas,
With Eternity standing by.

We played our comedy parts,
Scene after scene.
You were to be my queen,
My dear sweet comedy queen,
I your lover and knave of hearts
Who kissed your hand in the make--believe
And looked for the bee in your royal sleeve,
And stopped, because of the pain that smarts,
The pangs that soften, the sighs that grieve,
And the rest of the tragic parts.

We did not know that we loved,
Not at the first of it.
That, ah that was the worst of it,
The aching sorrowful worst of it,
Not till I saw that your soul was moved
At the sound of my voice, as in tears I read
Of Guinevere and the days long dead,
And the knights and ladies who lived and loved
And went to their graves and were harvested.
Then, ah then, it was proved.

So I dare not bid you good--bye,
Dear, without tears.
Things there are in the years,
The coming ominous years,
All too sad for us not to cry.
Other joys shall forgotten be,
But not the pilgrimage made with me,
The Severn's flood and the angry sky,
And the love we talked of, which could not be
With Eternity standing by.