The Old Love
by Augusta Davies Webster
You love me, only me. Do I not know?
If I were gone your life would be no more
Than his who, hungering on a rocky shore,
Shipwrecked, alone, observes the ebb and flow
Of hopeless ocean widening forth below,
And is remembering all that was before.
Dear, I believe it, at your strong heart's core
I am the life; no need to tell me so.
And yet--Ah, husband, though I be more fair,
More worth your love, and though you loved her not,
(Else must you have some different, deeper name
For loving me), dimly I seem aware,
As though you conned old stories long forgot,
Those days are with you--hers--before I came.
The mountain traveller, joyous on his way,
Looks on the vale he left and calls it fair,
Then counts with pride how far he is from there,
And still ascends. And, when my fancies stray,
Pleased with light memories of a bygone day,
I would not have again the things that were.
I take their thought like fragrance in the air
Of flowers I gathered in my childish play.
And thou, my very soul, can it touch thee
If I remember her or I forget?
Does the sun ask if the white stars be set?
Yes, I recall, shall many times, maybe,
Recall the dear old boyish days again,
The dear old boyish passion. Love, what then?