Poem By Edith Nesbit
Le jeu ne vaut pas la chandelle.
THIS treasure of love, these passion-flowers,
Dear as desire, are dearly bought:
The sweet unrest of seeing you
For some too-happy hour or two,
Is paid by such a wealth of tears,
Such grief, such bitterness, such fears,
Such wild remorse, such weak regret,
Such tide of longing towards you set,
As poison all my other hours,
And murder every other thought.
I cannot drink joy steeped in fears,
I choose the cold unhurtful days;
The roses you hold out to me
Are red and sweet enough to be
A crown one would so gladly wear
If but one's brows were strong to bear
The weight, and did not ache and ache
For the fair coronation's sake,
And dread of coming crownless years
When tired feet shall tread thorny ways.
There is a peace in sombre skies
Where no sun even tries to shine,
But not in these where transient glow,
And passionate bursts of sunshine show
Only life's dull fields drenched with rain,
And then the clouds set fast again
Into a leaden sky like this is,
Lit by no lightnings of warm kisses,
Whence, while I look into your eyes,
A thunderbolt may fall on mine.
I give you back the rose I stole,
Pluck but pale leaves that near me grow.
I cannot love with half a heart,
'Tis all or nothing for my part;
And since the all may not be ours,
Since we may only pluck Love's flowers,
But may not in his temple stay,
I choose the grey and lonely way--
And you--be thankful from your soul
That, loving you, I let you go.