‘When We Two Parted’: A Poem by Lord Byron

‘When We Two Parted’ is one of the anthology favourites by a poet better known for his life than for his work. Although the poetry of Lord Byron (1788-1824) is still read and studied, how many people have read Don Juan from start to finish? It’s shorter poems, like the beautiful lyric ‘When We Two Parted’ that keep Byron’s work popular.

‘When We Two Parted’ by Lord Byron

When we two parted
In silence and tears,
Half broken-hearted
To sever for years,
Pale grew thy cheek and cold,
Colder thy kiss;
Truly that hour foretold
Sorrow to this.

The dew of the morning
Sank chill on my brow–
It felt like the warning
Of what I feel now.
Thy vows are all broken,
And light is thy fame;
I hear thy name spoken,
And share in its shame.

They name thee before me,
A knell in mine ear;
A shudder come o’er me–
Why wert thou so dear?
They know not I knew thee,
Who knew thee too well–
Long, long shall I rue thee,
Too deeply to tell.

In secret we met–
In silence I grieve,
That thy heart could forget,
Thy spirit deceive.
If I should meet thee
After long years,
How should I greet thee?–
With silence and tears.

If you enjoyed Byron’s ‘When We Two Parted’, you might also enjoy our pick of some of the finest farewell poems.