BETA

True or False?

A man leans back in a rocking chair. A woman stands behind him holding a baby. The man reaches his right arm up and behind him to hold the baby’s hand. He places his left arm on his head. In the background and to the left of the man, a cat sits on a chair. The cat turns away from the viewer while licking its paw. The background features books, flowers in a vase, a framed picture, and the baby’s toys, which litter the ground. Full-page illustration contained within a single-ruled border.
So you think you love me, do you ?1
Well, it may be so ;2
But there are many ways of loving3
I have learnt to know.4
Many ways, and but one true way,5
Which is very rare ;6
And the conterfeits look brightest,7
Though they will not wear.8

II.

Yet they ring, almost, quite truly,9
Last (with care) for long ;10
But in time must break, may shiver11
At a touch of wrong :12
Having seen what looked most real13
Crumble into dust ;14
Now I choose that test and trial15
Should precede my trust.16

III.

I have seen a love demanding17
Time and hope and tears,18
Chaining all the past, exacting19
Bonds from future years ;20
Mind and heart, and joy and sorrow,21
Claiming as its fee :22
That was Love of Self, and never,23
Never Love of me !24

IV.

I have seen a love forgetting25
All above, beyond,26
Linking every dream and fancy27
In a sweeter bond ;28
Counting every hour worthless,29
Which was cold or free :—30
That, perhaps, was—Love of Pleasure,31
But not Love of me !32

V.

I have seen a love whose patience33
Never turned aside,34
Full of tender, fond devices ;35
Constant, even when tried ;36
Smallest boons were held as victories,37
Drops that swelled the sea :38
That I think was—Love of Power,39
But not Love of me !40

VI.

I have seen a love disdaining41
Ease and pride and fame,42
Burning even its own white pinions43
Just to feed its flame ;44
Reigning thus, supreme, triumphant,45
By the soul’s decree ;46
That was—Love of Love, I fancy,47
But not Love of me !48

VII.

I have heard—or dreamt, it may be—49
What Love is when true ;50
How to test and how to try it,51
Is the gift of few :52
These few say (or did I dream it ?)53
That true Love abides54
In these very things, but always55
Has a soul besides.56

VIII.

Lives among the false loves, knowing57
Just their peace and strife ;58
Bears the self-same look, but always59
Has an inner life.60
Only a true heart can find it,61
True as it is true,62
Only eyes as clear and tender63
Look it through and through.64

IX.

If it dies, it will not perish65
By Time’s slow decay,66
True Love only grows (they tell me)67
Stronger, day by day :68
Pain—has been its friend and comrade ;69
Fate—it can defy ;70
Only by its sword, sometimes71
Love can choose to die.72

X.

And its grave shall be more noble73
And more sacred still,74
Than a throne, where one less worthy75
Reigns and rules at will.76
Tell me then, do you dare offer77
This true Love to me ? . . .78
Neither you nor I can answer ;79
We will—wait and see !80