THY love I am. Thy wife I cannot be,
To wear the yoke of servitude — to take
Strange, unknown fetters that I cannot break
On soul and flesh that should be mine, and free.
Better the woman's old disgrace for me
Than this old sin — this deep and dire mistake;
Better for truth and honour and thy sake —
For the pure faith I give and take from thee.
I know thy love, and love thee all I can —
I fain would love thee only till I die;
But I may some day love a better man,
And thou may'st find a fitter mate than I;
Some want, some chill, may steal 'twixt heart and heart.
And then we must be free to kiss and part.