Zoe: Changed? very true, O Theron, I am changed.
Theron: It would at least have been as merciful
To hold a moment back from me the briar
You let recoil thus sharply or my breast.
Not long ago, not very long, you own'd
With maiden blushes, which became your brow
Better than corn-flower, or that periwinkle
Trained round it by a very careful hand,
A long while trimming it (no doubt) and proud
Of making its blue blossom laugh at me.
Zoe: I could laugh too. What did I own? It seems
(It was so little) you have quite forgot.
Theron: That, since we sate together lay by day,
And walkt together, sang together, none
Of earliest, gentlest, fondest, maiden friends
Loved you as formerly. If one remain'd
Dearer to you than any of the rest,
You could not wish her greater happiness . .
Zoe: Than what?
TheronI think you never could have said it . .
I must have dreamt it . .
Zoe: Tell me then your dream.
Theron: I thought you said . . nay, I will swear you said . .
More than one heard it . . that you could not wish
The nearest to your heart more perfect joy
Than Theron's love.
Zoe: Did I?
Theron: The Gods in heaven
Are witnesses, no less than woodland Gods,
That you did say it. O how changed! no word,
No look, for Theron now!
Zoe: Girls often say
More than they mean: men always do.
Theron: By Pan!
Who punishes with restless nights the false,
Hurling the sleeper down the precipice
Into the roaring gulph, or letting loose
Hounds, wolves, and tigers after him, his legs
Meanwhile tied not quite close, but just apart,
In withy bands. . by him I swear, my tongue,
Zoe! can never utter half my love.
Retract not one fond word.
Zoe: I must retract
The whole of those.
Theron: And leave me most unblest!
Zoe: I know not.
Theron: Heed not, rather say. Farewell.
Zoe: Farewell. I will not call you back again.
Go, Theron! hatred soon will sear your wound.
Theron: Falsehood I hate: I can not hate the false.
Zoe:Never? Then scorn her.
Theron: I can scorn myself,
And will; for others are preferr'd to me;
The untried to the tried.
Zoe: You said farewell.
Theron: Again I say it.
Zoe: Now I can believe
That you, repeating it, indeed are gone.
Yet seem you standing where you stood before.
Hath Pan done this? Pan, who doth such strange things.
Theron: Laugh me to scorn: derision I deserve:
But let that smile . . O let it be less sweet!
Sorrowful let me part, but not insane.
Zoe: I know some words that charm insanity
Before it can take hold.
Theron: Speak them; for now
Are they most wanted.
Zoe: I did say, 'tis true,
If on this solid earth friend dear enough
Remain'd to me, that Theron is the youth
I would desire to bless her.
Theron: To avoid
My importunity; to hear no more
The broken words that spoilt our mutual song,
The sobs that choakt my flute, the humidity
(Not from the lip) that gurgled on the stops.
Zoe: I would avoid them all; they troubled me.
Theron: Now then, farewell.
Zoe: I will do all the harm
I can to any girl who hopes to love you;
Nor shall you have her.
Theron: Vain and idle threat!
Zoe:So, Theron! you would love then once again?
Theron: Never; were love as possible and easy . .
Zoe: As what?
Theron: As death.
Zoe: O Theron! once indeed
I said the words which then so flatter'd you,
And now so pain you. Long before my friends
Left me through envy of your fondness for me,
No, not the dearest of them could I bear
To see beloved by you. False words I spake,
Not knowing then how false they were.
Theron: Speak now
One that shall drown them all.
Zoe: My voice is gone.
Why did you kiss me . . if you wisht to hear it?
Walter Savage Landor