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"Men May Come And Men May Go, But I Go On For Ever"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: A man, Lawrence Aylmer, "in middle age forlorn," sits by a brook sadly recalling the time twenty years before when he said goodbye to his brother Edmund, who was leaving for Italy, where he hoped to regain his failing health. The trip was in vain, for Edmund died in Italy shortly after. He was a poet, a sensitive and perceptive person, and of frail health. Before leaving England, Edmund had written a poem about this brook, tracing its origin in the wild hills and its progress down to the level farmlands. The continuous and everlasting flow of the waters is contrasted with the brevity and irregularity of human life and, in particular, of the life of Edmund Aylmer. The brook sings:

And out again I curve and flow
To join the brimming river,
For men may come and men may go,
But I go on for ever.