Ere I go Hence, by Ernest Dowson

Bryce Cameron Liston - Heading Home
Bryce Cameron Liston – Heading Home – from wooarts

At the point of death, holding a child’s hand, watching her beautiful face, and listening to her footsteps is the poet’s last consolation.


Ere I go hence and am no longer seen,
Ere I go hence into the dark of death,
And leave my body and my vital breath,
While over me the grass grows dank and green,
Let me behold thee, let me once again
Press thy fair palm, my fairest without stain,
Ere I go hence.

Ere I go hence and leave this upper light,
Ere I go hence into the deathless sleep
That lies beyond the land, where cold and deep,
The stream of Lethe flows thro’ endless night,
Let me once more, my sweet child love, behold
Thy pure grey eyes, thy tresses of bright gold—
Ere I go hence.

Ere I go hence and cast away all pain,
Ere I go hence and falter and forget
The fever and the madness and regret
That make all life, all love so passing vain—
O my heart’s darling, let me hear once more
The music of thy step upon the floor,
Ere I go hence.

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

Previously published on Agapeta, 2015/01/10.

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