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Arthur Quiller-Couch, comp.  The Oxford Book of Victorian Verse.  1922.
 
The One Before the Last
By Rupert Brooke (1887–1915)
 
I DREAMT I was in love again
  With the One Before the Last,
And smiled to greet the pleasant pain
  Of that innocent young past.
 
But I jump’d to feel how sharp had been        5
  The pain when it did live,
How the faded dreams of Nineteen-ten
  Were Hell in Nineteen-five.
 
The boy’s woe was as keen and clear,
  The boy’s love just as true,        10
And the One Before the Last, my dear,
  Hurt quite as much as you.
*        *        *        *        *
Sickly I ponder’d how the lover
  Wrongs the unanswering tomb,
And sentimentalizes over        15
  What earn’d a better doom.
 
Gently he tombs the poor dim last time,
  Strews pinkish dust above,
And sighs, ‘The dear dead boyish pastime;
  But this—ah, God!—is Love!’        20
 
—Better oblivion hide dead true loves,
  Better the night enfold,
Than men, to eke the praise of new loves,
  Should lie about the old!
*        *        *        *        *
Oh! bitter thoughts I had in plenty.        25
  But here ’s the worst of it—
I shall forget, in Nineteen-twenty,
  You ever hurt a bit!
 
 
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