To One Who would Make a Confession

Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840-1922)

Oh! leave the past to bury its own dead.
The Past is naught to us, the Present all.
What need of last year's leaves to strew Love's bed?
What need of ghosts to grace a festival?
I would not, if I could, those days recall,
Those days not ours. For us the feast is spread,
The lamps are lit, and music plays withal.
Then let us love and leave the rest unsaid.
This island is our home. Around it roar
Great gulfs and oceans, channels, straits, and seas.
What matter in what wreck we reached the shore,
So we both reached it? We can mock at these.
Oh! leave the Past, if Past indeed there be.
I would not know it. I would know but thee.

 

 


Title:

To One Who would Make a Confession

Poet:

Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen

Year of Publication:

1881

Age Appropriate:

15 - 16

Category:

Advice

Form:

Spenserian sonnet: three quatrains followed by a couplet

Stanza:

1

Lines:

14

Rhyme:

abab;baba;cdcd;ee

Literary Period:

Modern

Things to Discuss:

What is the situation the poet referring to? What is meant by the lines "the Past is naught to us, the Present all?" What is the main reason for giving this advice? Do you agree? Give reasons why or why not?

About the Poem:

"Shrift" means "confession," from the verb "shrive"—a priest "shrives" someone by hearing confession and allotting a penance. (From "shrive" we also derive "Shrove Tuesday," or Mardi Gras, the day of merriment before Ash Wednesday confession and the beginning of Lent.)