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Isolation: To Marguerite

 We were apart; yet, day by day,
I bade my heart more constant be.
I bade it keep the world away, And grow a home for only thee; Nor fear'd but thy love likewise grew, Like mine, each day, more tried, more true.
The fault was grave! I might have known, What far too soon, alas! I learn'd— The heart can bind itself alone, And faith may oft be unreturn'd.
Self-sway'd our feelings ebb and swell— Thou lov'st no more;—Farewell! Farewell! Farewell!—and thou, thou lonely heart, Which never yet without remorse Even for a moment didst depart From thy remote and spherèd course To haunt the place where passions reign— Back to thy solitude again! Back! with the conscious thrill of shame Which Luna felt, that summer-night, Flash through her pure immortal frame, When she forsook the starry height To hang over Endymion's sleep Upon the pine-grown Latmian steep.
Yet she, chaste queen, had never proved How vain a thing is mortal love, Wandering in Heaven, far removed.
But thou hast long had place to prove This truth—to prove, and make thine own: "Thou hast been, shalt be, art, alone.
" Or, if not quite alone, yet they Which touch thee are unmating things— Ocean and clouds and night and day; Lorn autumns and triumphant springs; And life, and others' joy and pain, And love, if love, of happier men.
Of happier men—for they, at least, Have dream'd two human hearts might blend In one, and were through faith released From isolation without end Prolong'd; nor knew, although not less Alone than thou, their loneliness.

Poem by Matthew Arnold
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