Personal Choice 56

'Gone with the Wind'



Non Sum Qualis eram Bonae Sub Regno Cynarae


Last night, ah, yesternight, betwixt her lips and mine

There fell thy shadow, Cynara! thy breath was shed

Upon my soul between the kisses and the wine;

And I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, I was desolate and bowed my head:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


All night upon mine heart I felt her warm heart beat,

Night-long within mine arms in love and sleep she lay;

Surely the kisses of her bought red mouth were sweet;

But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

When I awoke and found the dawn was gray:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


I have forgot much, Cynara! gone with the wind,

Flung roses, roses riotously with the throng,

Dancing, to put thy pale, lost lilies out of mind;

But I was desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, all the time, because the dance was long:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.


I cried for madder music and for stronger wine,

But when the feast is finished and the lamps expire,

Then falls thy shadow, Cynara! the night is thine;

And I am desolate and sick of an old passion,

Yea, hungry for the lips of my desire:

I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.

‘I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion.’


Ernest Dowson


Ernest Dowson (1867-1900). English poet. He attended Queens College, Oxford, but left in 1888 without taking a degree. Dowson's life was tragic. In 1894 his father died, and his mother committed suicide six months later. Dowson himself was consumptive, alcoholic, and debt-ridden. He died of tuberculosis at the age of 32. One of the fin-de-siècle decadents, Dowson wrote fragile, sensuous poetry voicing regret for the passing of youth and beauty, the denial of love, and the rejection of pleasure. His best-known poem is Non Sum Qualis Eram Bonae sub Regno Cynarae, with its refrain, I have been faithful to thee, Cynara! in my fashion. A Roman Catholic, Dowson wrote some very fine religious poetry. He also made some notable translations from the French and wrote a novel and a play


A mad, giddy romp with such wonderful lyric quality and music. Two Hollywood films would later purloin lines for their titles. What’s not to love about it?

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