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True Johnny

Robert Graves 1895 (Wimbledon) – 1985 (Deià)

Mary: Johnny, sweetheart, can you be true
To all those famous vows you've made?
Will you love me as I love you
Until we both in earth are laid?
Or shall the old wives nod and say
'His love was only for a day,
The mood goes by,
His fancies fly,
And Mary's left to sigh.'

Johnny: Mary, alas, you've hit the truth,
And I with grief can but admit
Hot-blooded haste controls my youth,
My idle fancies veer and flit
From flower to flower, from tree to tree,
And when the moment catches me
Oh, love goes by,
Away I fly,
And leave my girl to sigh.

Mary: Could you but now foretell the day,
Johnny, when this sad thing must be,
When light and gay you'll turn away
And laugh and break the heart in me?
For like a nut for true love's sake
My empty heart shall crack and break,
When fancies fly
And love goes by
And Mary's left to die.

Johnny: When the sun turns against the clock,
When Avon waters upward flow,
When eggs are laid by barn-door cock,
When dusty hens do strut and crow,
When up is down, when left is right,
Oh, then I'll break the troth I plight,
With careless eye
Away I'll fly
And Mary here shall die.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:08 min read

Robert Graves

Robert von Ranke Graves was an English poet, scholar/translator/writer of antiquity specializing in Classical Greece and Rome, novelist and soldier in World War One. more…

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