Burn This Letter as Soon
as Read.”


Burn this letter as soon as read.1
Consider all I say, unsaid.2
Think of me as a wilful boy3
Inebriate with a golden joy ;4
Daring to tell thee all his heart ;5
Trembling at his fool-hardy part6
Madly chasing a fierce desire7
Through earth and water, air and fire.8
Ready to tend thee day and night9
As his endless, sole delight :—10
Ready to throw his life away11
To add to thine a single day.12


Burn this letter as soon as read.13
Ne’er can its saying be unsaid.14
Hate me,—and if thy heart is fierce ;15
Mine with thine angry arrows pierce.16
Trample me beneath thy scorn :17
Wish that I had ne’er been born :18
Bid me with a frown, to die,—19
I will meet my destiny :20
Or, if in a softer mood,21
Banish me to solitude : 22
Only let me hear thy voice,23
In my doom I will rejoice.24


Burn this letter as soon as read.25
Think of me as one who’s dead : 26
Lying straight beneath the grass27
O’er which over happy mortals pass :28
Nevermore to vex thy sight ;29
Nevermore to dim thy light.30
When in Spring, to moonbeam flood,31
Primroses fill all the wood,32
(Then I met thee !) —think, when slow33
Sets the sun, and birds sing low,34
Of that eve my heart beguiled,35
When I whispered,—and you smiled.36


Burn this letter. Thou are proud ;37
High thy race above the crowd.38
Careless thou of others’ pain ;39
They must love—and thou disdain.40
Thou canst light the lamp which none41
Quencheth but the churchyard stone.42
In thy hand is all my fate ;43
Thou must yield me love or hate.44
All my fate is in thy hand :—45
But my words forever stand.46
I love !  Wouldst thou that love gainsay,47
Then thou must tear my life away !48