by Francis Thompson
If I have studied here in part
A tale as old as maiden's heart,
'Tis that I do see herein
Shadow of more piteous sin.
She, that but giving part, not whole,
Took even the part back, is the Soul:
And that so disdain-ed Lover--
Best unthought, since Love is over.
Love to invite, desire, and fear,
And Love's exactions cost too dear
Count for Love's possession,--ah,
Thy way, misera Anima!
To give the pledge, and yet be pined
That a pledge should have force to bind,
This, O Soul, too often still
Is the recreance of thy will!
Out of Love's arms to make fond chain,
And, because struggle bringeth pain,
Hate Love for Love's sweet constraint,
Is the way of Souls that faint.
Such a Soul, for saddest end,
Finds Love the foe in Love the friend;
And--ah, grief incredible!--
Treads the way of Heaven, to Hell.
Last updated January 14, 2019