The Common Lot

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

It is a common fate—a woman's lot—
      To waste on one the riches of her soul,
Who takes the wealth she gives him, but cannot
      Repay the interest, and much less the whole.

As I look up into your eyes and wait
      For some response to my fond gaze and touch,
It seems to me there is no sadder fate
      Than to be doomed to loving overmuch.
 
Are you not kind? Ah, yes, so very kind—
      So thoughtful of my comfort, and so true.
Yes, yes, dear heart; but I, not being blind,
      Know that I am not loved as I love you.

One tenderer word, a little longer kiss,
      Will fill my soul with music and with song;
And if you seem abstracted, or I miss
      The heart-tone from your voice, my world goes wrong.

And oftentimes you think me childish—weak—
      When at some thoughtless word the tears will start;
You cannot understand how aught you speak
      Has power to stir the depths of my poor heart.

I cannot help it, dear,—I wish I could,
      Or feign indifference where I now adore;
For if I seemed to love you less you would,
      Manlike, I have no doubt, love me the more.

'Tis a sad gift, that much applauded thing,
      A constant heart; for fact doth daily prove
That constancy finds oft a cruel sting,
      While fickle natures win the deeper love.

from Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1883)

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