A WOMAN'S QUESTIONING
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.