A Rejected Lover
You "never loved me," Ada. These slow words
Dropped softly from your gentle woman-tongue
Out of your true and kindly woman-heart,
Fell, piercing into mine like very swords
The sharper for their kindness. Yet no wrong
Lies to your charge, nor cruelty, nor art,--
Ev'n when you spoke, I saw the tender tear-drop start.
You "never loved me." No, you never knew,
You, with youth's morning fresh upon your soul,
What 't is to love: slow, drop by drop, to pour
Our life's whole essence, perfumed through and through
With all the best we have or can control
For the libation--cast it down before
Your feet--then lift the goblet, dry for evermore.
I shall not die as foolish lovers do:
A man's heart beats beneath thid breast of mine,
The breast where--Curse on that fiend-whispering
"It might have been!"--Ada, I will be true
Unto myself--the self that so loved thine:
May all life's pain, like these few tears that spring
For me, glance off as rain-drops from my white dove's wing!
May you live long, some good man's bosom flower,
And gather chldren round your matron knees:
So, when all this is past, and you and I
Remember each our youth-days as an hour
Of joy--or anguish, one, serene, at ease,
May come to meet the other's steadfast eye,
Thinking, "He loved me well!" clasp hands, and so pass by.