Fate Knows no Tears

A poem by Laurence Hope (Adela Florence Cory Nicolson)

Just as the dawn of Love was breaking
Across the weary world of grey,
Just as my life once more was waking
As roses waken late in May,
Fate, blindly cruel and havoc-making,
Stepped in and carried you away.

Memories have I none in keeping
Of times I held you near my heart,
Of dreams when we were near to weeping
That dawn should bid us rise and part;
Never, alas, I saw you sleeping
With soft closed eyes and lips apart,

Breathing my name still through your dreaming. -
Ah! had you stayed, such things had been!
But Fate, unheeding human scheming,
Serenely reckless came between -
Fate with her cold eyes hard and gleaming
Unseared by all the sorrow seen.

Ah! well-beloved, I never told you,
I did not show in speech or song,
How at the end I longed to fold you
Close in my arms; so fierce and strong
The longing grew to have and hold you,
You, and you only, all life long.

They who know nothing call me fickle,
Keen to pursue and loth to keep.
Ah, could they see these tears that trickle
From eyes erstwhile too proud to weep.
Could see me, prone, beneath the sickle,
While pain and sorrow stand and reap!

Unopened scarce, yet overblown, lie
The hopes that rose-like round me grew,
The lights are low, and more than lonely
This life I lead apart from you.
Come back, come back! I want you only,
And you who loved me never knew.

You loved me, pleaded for compassion
On all the pain I would not share;
And I in weary, halting fashion
Was loth to listen, long to care;
But now, dear God! I faint with passion
For your far eyes and distant hair.

Yes, I am faint with love, and broken
With sleepless nights and empty days;
I want your soft words fiercely spoken,
Your tender looks and wayward ways -
Want that strange smile that gave me token
Of many things that no man says.

Cold was I, weary, slow to waken
Till, startled by your ardent eyes,
I felt the soul within me shaken
And long-forgotten senses rise;
But in that moment you were taken,
And thus we lost our Paradise!

Farewell, we may not now recover
That golden "Then" misspent, passed by,
We shall not meet as loved and lover
Here, or hereafter, you and I.
My time for loving you is over,
Love has no future, but to die.

And thus we part, with no believing
In any chance of future years.
We have no idle self-deceiving,
No half-consoling hopes and fears;
We know the Gods grant no retrieving
A wasted chance. Fate knows no tears.

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