First World War Poetry Digital Archive

True Johnny

TRUE JOHNNY by ROBERT GRAVES

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'?

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.

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.

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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