The Self Banished

The Self Banished

"The Self Banished" is a poem written by Edmund Waller in about 1645, and is one of the first songs written by the English composer Edward Elgar. It was written in 1875, and specifically for “soprano or tenor”. It is unpublished.



:It is not that I love you less::Than when before your feet I lay::But to prevent the sad increase::Of hopeless love, I keep away.

:In vain! (alas!) for ev'ry thing::Which I have known belong to you, [Note "belong" not "belongs". It is the subjunctive of the verb.] :Your form does to my fancy bring,::And makes my old wounds bleed anew.

:Who in the Spring from the new Sun::Already has a fever got,:Too late begins those shafts to shun,::Which Phoebus through his veins has shot.

:Too late he would the pain assuage,::And to shadows thick he doth retire;:About with him he bears the pain, [Elgar’s error: should be "rage"] ::And in his tainted blood the fire.

:Abscence is vain for ev’ry thing::That I have known belong to you,:Your form does to my fancy bring,::And makes my old wounds bleed anew. [This verse was added (with curious spelling) by Elgar]

:But vow'd I have, and never must::Your banish'd servant trouble you;:For if I break, you may mistrust [Elgar puts "mis"trust" where the original has "dis"trust"] ::The vow I made to love you, too.


* [ Elgar: Complete Songs for Voice & Piano] Amanda Roocroft (soprano), Reinild Mees (piano)


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