Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
A Woman Sold; and Other Poems (1867)
II. Too Faithful
By Augusta Webster (1840–1894)
TOO fond and faithful, wilt thou vainly yet
  Waste love on one who does not ask it now
And, having wronged thee, seeks but to forget?
A fairer face smiles on his love, and thou,
  Thou with thy truth and fervour, stand aside,        5
Thou nobler-natured to her beauty bow.
There lingers in thee yet this much of pride
  That he who thus has wronged himself and thee
Could never win thy truth whate’er betide,
Since in thine eyes he never more may be        10
  So true and great that thou couldst bend to him,
Oh never more! Why is thy heart not free?
Oh wilt thou weep because his eyes are dim?
  And wilt thou blush because his choice is shame
Falling on one whose love is but a whim?        15
An idle whim to stir a languid heart,
  A business chaffering of the more and less
And rise and falling of the marriage mart.
Yet is it cause to deepen thy distress
  That he shall suffer for his misplaced trust?        20
For did he come into thy life to bless?
He buys a bauble something touched with rust,
  Passing through many hands that did not hold,
Its lustre deadened by the market’s dust.
But what to thee, if he for this has sold        25
  His faith, his living heart, his nobler mind,
And given gold for that which is not gold?
Oh better that he should rest ever blind,
  Better for him—but should he wake to see
The gem, he dreamed so pure, of paltriest kind,        30
Too fond and faithful, what were that to thee?
  Thou hast thy sorrow; wherefore look beyond
To sorrow for his sorrow that shall be?
Too fond and faithful, weak in being fond,
  False to thyself by faithfulness to him,        35
Since he has freed thee wherefore art thou bond?
And if his cup hold poison to the rim,
  Dregged with life’s malady beyond life’s cure,
Why should its bitter drops to thine o’erbrim?
And yet, if thou hast love so deep and pure        40
  That, whatsoever change the years shall bring,
Before the sight of God it may endure,
And if it seem to thee a holy thing
  That, should he need it in his day of pain,
Thou mayst have sister power of comforting,        45
Well, if thy love be thus, let it remain;
  Thou wilt not fear to name it in thy prayer,
As though it were some passion wild and vain.
Well, let it be, it may make less that care
  Centered in self thou canst not wholly quell,        50
If others, not thine own its place shall share.

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