A Cruel Mistress.
We read of kings and gods that kindly took
A pitcher fill'd with water from the brook ;
But I have daily tender'd without thanks
Rivers of tears that overflow their banks.
A slaughter'd bull will appease angry Jove,
A horse the Sun, a lamb the god of love,
But she disdains the spotless sacrifice
Of a pure heart, that at her altar lies.
Vesta is not displeased, if her chaste urn
Do with repaired fuel ever burn ;
But my saint frowns, though to her honour'd name
I consecrate a never-dying flame.
Th' Assyrian king did none i' th' furnace throw
But those that to his image did not bow ;
With bended knees I daily worship her,
Yet she consumes her own idolater.
Of such a goddess no times leave record,
That burnt the temple where she was adored.
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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