LOVE'S Herald flew o'er all the fields of Greece,
Crying: '
Love's altar waits for sacrifice!'
And all folk answered, like a wave of peace,
With treasured offerings and gifts of price.

Toward high Olympus every white road filled
With pilgrims streaming to the blest abode;
Each bore rich tribute, some for joys fulfilled,
And some for blisses lingering on the road.

The pious peasant drives his laden car;
The fisher youth bears treasure from the sea;
A wife brings honey for the sweets that are;
A maid brings roses for the sweets to be.

Here strides the soldier with his wreathed sword,
No more to glitter in his country's wars;
There walks the poet with his mystic word,
And smiles at Eros' mild recruit from Mars.

But midst these bearers of propitious gifts,
Behold where two, a youth and maiden, stand:
She bears no boon; his arm no burden lifts,
Save her dear fingers pressed within his hand.

Their touch ignites the soft delicious fire,
Whose rays the very altar-flames eclipse;
Their eyes are on each other-sweet desire
And yearning passion tremble on their lips.

So fair-so strong! Ah, Love! what errant wiles
Have brought these two so poor and so unblest?
But see! Instead of anger, Cupid smiles;
And lo! he crowns their sacrifice as best!

Their hands are empty, but their hearts are
Their gifts so rare for all the host suffice:
Before the altar is their life-wine spilled-
The love they long for is their sacrifice.