A Woman's Letter
by Theodore Tilton
My friend (mark, only friend, and nothing more),
To-night, in parting from you at the door,
I meant to speak what now I haste to write.
You saw me stand awaiting your good night;
You asked me for my lips, -- I answered nay;
You then let fall my hand, and fled away.
The rose you gave me, -- will it not decay?
Am I a fool, to think that love endures?
I knew a tongue whose words were fair as yours;
If he was false, the rest may prove the same.
You too! If this be harsh, am I to blame?
Are bitter things that go by some sweet name
Less bitter? Love is but a sweet-named gall!
A heart can never trust until it knows;
A heart can never know until it trusts;
A heart is never safe that loves at all.
Love is the pain of pains, the woe of woes!
Let women's bosoms turn to marble busts!
You have a right to know; so be it known, --
I have no other heart except a stone!
I have not said that every man deceives;
Nor do I say no woman's heart hath burned,
Like mine, with love, and found the love returned;
I only know the lesson I have learned!
Since then, I have not loved; I love not now;
I shall not love again. Not any vow
Which any man may make -- not yours to-day --
Not were it crowned with every bud of May --
Would change this final answer, which is Nay!
Source:The Sexton's Tale, And Other Poems.
Sheldon And Company, New York.