by: Laurence Hope (1865-1904)

      OU were more than a Lover to me,--
      Were something sacred, and half divine,--
      Akin to Sunset over the Sea,
      To leaves that tremble and stars that shine.
      There was not much to attract in me,
      No gift or beauty; you did not care
      Enough to give me fidelity
      Who cared so deeply, and could not share.
      Alas, my Temple! I find the Shrine
      I entered barefoot, with bended head,
      To pay that tender homage of mine,
      An open courtyard, where all may tread!
      And all men knew it, I hear, but I,
      Who being a trusting fool, it seems,
      Went to the Market of Love to buy
      With coins of worship, and faith, and dreams!
      Still it is over. Now, to forget!
      I know not whether to choose anew
      In hopes of finding loyalty yet,
      Or fond but faithless, drift on with you.
      Loving you lightly, among the rest,--
      (Many a little, not greatly one),--
      You may be right: I may find it best
      To do, henceforward, as you have done.
      But ah, for my sweet, lost nights with you,
      When had Death been, in the dawning grey,
      Price of your beauty and love, I knew
      I would have paid, and been glad to pay!

"Disloyal" is reprinted from Poetica Erotica. Ed. T.R. Smith. New York: Crown Publishers, 1921.




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