All lovely things

All lovely things

All lovely things is about the things in life that are so beautiful, but are endless. This poem is written by Conrad Aiken.

About the poet

Conrad Potter Aiken (August 5 1889 – August 17 1973) was the son of a wealthy family from New England, who moved to Savannah (Georgia, US). His father was a physician and brand surgeon. He was extremely violent towards his family, which made a great impression on Aiken. This violence made the way to dramatic events that took place on February 27 1901. After killing his wife, his father shot himself. At that time, Aiken was only eleven years old. He was the first one to find his parents.

After going through a rough time during his childhood, he was raised by his aunt in Massachusetts. He studied at Harvard University, together with T.S. Eliot. The two of them became friends and this friendship lasted their intire lives.

Aiken began to write when one of his teachers told him he was good at this. Inspired by George Santayana, his teacher, Aiken began to write poetry. He managed to come up with his own stule, to turn his need for answers to worldly problems into poetry. This work was greatly inspired by Symbolism. Just like poets such as Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire.

In 1930 Aiken received the Pullitzer Prize for Poetry. From that moment, he would win prize after prize. He finally wrote more than fifty books.


All lovely things

By Conrad Aiken

All lovely things

All lovely things will have an ending,
All lovely things will fade and die,
And youth, that’s now so bravely spending,
Will beg a penny by and by.

Fine ladies soon are all forgotten,
And goldenrod is dust when dead,
The sweetest flesh and flowers are rotten
And cobwebs tent the brightest head.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, return!—
But time goes on, and will, unheeding,
Though hands will reach, and eyes will yearn,
And the wild days set true hearts bleeding.

Come back, true love! Sweet youth, remain!—
But goldenrod and daisies wither,
And over them blows autumn rain,
They pass, they pass, and know not whither.


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