The speaker opens the poem by describing her lover's grave that lies cold in the earth. Some time has passed since his death, so the speaker begins to reflect on her memory of him and wonders if time has totally depleted the love she felt. She then asks her "Sweet Love of youth" to forgive her if she forgets him, because the world's tide is always bringing new desires and hopes. At the same time she's never felt another love like his and all of her "life's bliss" is therefore in the grave with him.
As more time passes, the speaker realizes that despair has not destroyed her completely and that existence can be strengthened and cherished "without the aid of joy." At this point she's "checked her tears of useless passion" and refuses to "hasten down to that tomb" with her lover. She won't indulge in memory's pain too much because doing so would be like seeking that empty world again without her lover.