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Adelaide Anne Procter
1825 - 1864


Before I trust my fate to thee,

Or place my hand in thine,

Before I let thy Future give

Colour and form to mine,

Before I peril all for thee,

Question thy soul to-night 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,

Untouch'd, 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 can not fulful,

One cord that any other hand

Could better wake, or still?

Speak now, lest at some future day

My whole life wither 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 thy 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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