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