Sonnets of a Little Girl, VIII, by Ernest Dowson

Dowson's vandalised grave
Dowson’s vandalised grave (from Find A Grave)

I present now the last of the 8 “Sonnets of a Little Girl.” This 8th one is not about childhood, there is no little girl in it; it rather tells about disappointment and death. A modified version of it, with the title “Epilogue,” appeared in The Savoy, No. 7, November 1896, page 87. With the title “A Last Word,” it was included as the last poem in verse in Dowson’s final collection Decorations: in Verse and Prose, published in December 1899, two months before his death.


Let us go hence: the night is now at hand;
The day is overworn, the birds all flown.
And we have reaped the crops the gods have sown;
Despair and death—deep darkness on the land,
Broods for all time; we cannot understand
The meaning of our life, all that is shown
Is bitter to the core, while overthrown
The veil of woe enwraps us where we stand.
Let us go hence, the grave is doubtless cold,
The coffin dark—yet there just and unjust
Find end of labour, there’s rest for the old,
Freedom to all from fear and love and lust.
Let us go hence and pray the earth enfold
Our life-sick hearts and turn them into dust.

Source of the poem: Poésie Schublade, in Ernest Dowson Collected Poems, R. K. R. Thornton with Caroline Dowson (editors), University of Birmingham Press (2003).

This poem was included in a post published on Agapeta, 2016/10/21.

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