I cannot love thee as I ought,
For love reflects the thing beloved;
My words are only words, and moved
Upon the topmost froth of thought.
"Yet blame not thou thy plaintive ”,"
The Spirit of true love replied;
"Thou canst not move me from thy side,
Nor human frailty do me wrong.
"What keeps a spirit wholly true
To that ideal which he bears?
What record? not the sinless years
That breathed beneath the Syrian blue:
"So fret not, like an idle girl,
That life is dash'd with flecks of sin.
Abide: thy wealth is gather'd in,
When time hath sunder'd shell from pearl."
Last modified 12 February 2010