Why do I love?
Is it for men to choose
The hour of the hushed night when crowned with dews
From its sea grave the morning star shall wake?
Lo, while we drowsed, it rose on our heart's ache,
And all our heaven was red with the day's hues,
And glad birds chaunted from the trees above.
So was it with my heart that might not choose
But woke to love.

Why do I love?
The aureole of lost days
Is on thy brow and unforgotten face;
Faith's guiding light, the same which of old time
Sent men on knightly quests to deeds sublime
And the high prize which was their lady's grace.
Thither I follow, careless what shall prove,
So only at thy knees a little space
I too may love.

Why do I love?
The paths of life are steep,
And dark the issues and the gulfs how deep!
This wayside shrine invites my knees to kneel.
Thou, dearest Saint, in witness of my zeal
Biddest me walk in joy who only weep,
And fare forth comforted who vainly strove.
See how my steps in thy sweet service leap!
See how I love!

Why do I love?
There is a dream that stirs
My soul to its last depth of lost desires,
Music of waters in a thirsty land,
A step, a touch, the lingering of a hand,
Fingers that are the soft Spring's messengers,
And lips that to my kisses part and move
With passionate words which yet--how strange!--are hers,
Pleading for love.

Why do I love?
If one had told me this,
When I erewhile in the world's wilderness
Wandered uncertain or of Heaven or Hell,
How had I laughed as at a time--worn tale!
To--day, behold. I too speak prophecies,
And hang my votive garland in the grove,
And supplicate my god, and kneel and kiss
Her feet for love.

Why do I love?
Ah, love, I will not make
A longer reasoning even for thy sake;
Be it enough that I am pleasure's thrall.
Tell me thy will, in song or madrigal
Or word unspoken. Bid me bend or break,
And brave all wraths of Earth or Heaven above,
But not thy wrath. Ah! bid me not awake.
Bid me still love.