(4 November 1872 - 1934 / Scotia, Lake Erie, Ontario)

The Usurer

FATE says, and flaunts her stores of gold,
'I'll loan you happiness untold.
What is it you desire of me?'
A perfect hour in which to be
In love with life, and glad, and good,
The bliss of being understood,
Amid life's cares a little space
To feast your eyes upon a face,
The whispered word, the love-filled tone,
The warmth of lips that meet your own,
To-day of Fate you borrow;
In hunger of the heart, and pain,
In loneliness, and longing vain,
You pay the debt to-morrow!

Prince, let grim Fate take what she will
Of treasures rare, of joys that thrill,
Enact the cruel usurer's part,
Leave empty arms and hungry heart,
Take what she can of love and trust,
Take all life's gladness, if she must,
Take meeting smile and parting kiss–
The benediction and the bliss.
What then? The fairest thing of all
Is ours, O Prince, beyond recall–
Not even Fate would dare to seize
Our store of golden memories.

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