The Girls We Loved -- But Didn't Marry! by George Essex Evans

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Oh! golden are the dreams of youth
   By ardent fancy brightly painted;
But broken dreams they prove, forsooth,
   As we with life grow more acquainted.
And thou, staid Benedict and meek,
   Who now at home by night must tarry,
Upon one theme thou durst not speak--
   "The girls we loved --- but didn't many."

O long array of peerless forms!
   O faultless faces, bold or tender!
O days of ardour, sighs in storms,   
   And unconditional surrender!
Surely their eyes were every hue;
   Their thrilling glances none could parry;
O fools! -- we loved, and thought them true ---
   The girls we loved --- but didn't marry.

Amelia swore, with brimming eyes,
   To love for ever and for ever;
And Agnes murmured thro' her sighs
   That Death alone our hearts could sever.
Where is the faithless Fanny gone?
   And where the captivating Carry!   
O bane deceivers --- false --- forsworn!
   The girls we loved --- but didn't marry.

How oft Georgina gave the hand
   A lingering pressure ere we parted!   
Sweet were the moments when we fanned
   False Bess, who left us broken-hearted.
Georgina now is Mrs. Pott,
   And Bess has wedded old Glengarry.
Alas! They found out what was what ---
   Those girls we loved --- but didn't marry.

Ah well! The plaited braid of hair,
   The faded scrawl on tinted paper,
The trinkets that we kept with care,
   The tiny glove, once white and taper.
Alas! 'tis all we have to show
   Romantic notions will miscarry.
They loved and left us --- Let them go ---
   The girls we loved -- but didn't marry!   

Come, fill your glasses to the brim,
   And thank the stars that shine above us
We could not gratify each whim,
   Nor wed with all who swore to love us.   
True freedom dies with single bliss,
   And wedlock's chains are hard to carry.
One toast I pledge you --- Drink to this:
   The girls we loved --- but didn't marry!

First published in The Queenslander, 9 June 1888;
and later in
The Boomerang, 2 April 1892.

Author reference sites: Austlit, Australian Dictionary of Biography, Australian Poetry Library

See also.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on June 9, 2012 8:54 AM.

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