Before The Shrine

I BUILT a shrine, and set my idol there,
And morn and noon and night my knees I bent,
And cried aloud until my strength was spent,
Beseeching his cold pity with my prayer.
Sometimes at dawning, when the day was fair,
A ray of light to his stern visage sent
The semblance of a smile. Did he relent,
This strong god, Love, whose high-priest is Despair?

High noon came on, and in its full, clear light
I saw his lips, as ruthless as of old;
And his eyes mocked me like relentless fate,
Till I was fain to hide me from his sight;
Then one swept off from him his mantle's fold,
And lo, my idol was not Love, but Hate.
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