aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,
aefenglommung
aefenglommung

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Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae

Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine
There fell thy shadow, Cynara! Thy breath was shed
Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;
And I was desolate and sick of an old passion --
Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head.
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! -- In my fashion.

All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,
Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;
Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,
When I woke and found the dawn was gray:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! -- In my fashion.

I have forgot much, Cynara! Gone with the wind,
Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,
Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;
But I was desolate and sick of an old passion --
Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! -- In my fashion.

I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,
But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,
Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! The night is thine;
And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,
Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:
I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! -- In my fashion.
-- Ernest Dowson

This melodramatic Victorian poem is about someone whose intended has died of tuberculosis. He has not allowed himself to fall in love again (that's being faithful -- after a fashion), but he has tried to compensate by riotous living (unsatisfactorily).

That said, this poem is now remembered primarily as the source of the title of Margaret Mitchell's epic of the Civil War, Gone With The Wind, which (if memory serves) quotes a couple of these lines as a preface or dedication of sorts before the commencement of the story.
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