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"'T Is Better To Have Loved And Lost Than Never To Have Loved At All"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: The poet is experiencing deep pain after the death of the friend Arthur Hallam, whom he had loved. It is a pain which paralyzes him and seemingly destroys any possibility of his ever again enjoying life. "The very source and fount of day/ Is dash'd with wandering isles of night." But even at this time, he says that he would rather be a person who was able to feel love for someone, even though that love might bring him enduring grief, than to be incapable of knowing love at all. He does not envy

The heart that never plighted troth
But stagnates in the weeds of sloth.
. . .
I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it, when I sorrow most;
'T is better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.