Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A WOMAN'S QUESTION, by ADELAIDE ANNE PROCTER



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A WOMAN'S QUESTION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Before I trust my fate to thee
Last Line: Would risk it all!
Alternate Author Name(s): Berwick, Mary
Subject(s): Love - Complaints


BEFORE I trust my fate to thee,
Or place my hand in thine,
Before I let thy future give
Color and form to mine,
Before I peril all for thee, question thy soul
tonight for me.
I break all slighter bonds, nor feel
A shadow of regret:
Is there one link within the past
That holds thy spirit yet?
Or is thy faith as clear and free as that which I
can pledge to thee?
Does there within thy dimmest dreams
A possible future shine,
Wherein thy life could henceforth breathe,
Untouched, unshared by mine?
If so, at any pain or cost, O, tell me before
all is lost!
Look deeper still. If thou canst feel,
Within thy inmost soul,
That thou hast kept a portion back,
While I have staked the whole,
Let no false pity spare the blow, but in true
mercy tell me so.
Is there within thy heart a need
That mine cannot fulfil?
One cord that any other hand
Could better wake or still?
Speak now, lest at some future day my whole life
whither and decay.
Lives there within thy nature hid
The demon-spirit, Change,
Shedding a passing glory still
On all things new and strange?
It may not be thy fault alone -- but shield my heart
against thine own.
Couldst thou withdraw thy hand one day
And answer to my claim,
That Fate, and that to-day's mistake --
Not thou -- had been to blame?
Some soothe their conscience thus; but thou wilt
surely warn and save me now.
Nay, answer not, -- I dare not hear
The words would come too late;
Yet I would spare thee all remorse,
So, comfort thee, my fate --
Whatever on my heart may fall -- remember, I
would risk it all!




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