Love's Sacrifice

Melody -

John Boyle O'Reilly

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

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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' mile recruit from Mars.
  5. 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 finger pressed within his hand.

6. 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.

7. 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!

8. Their hands are empty, but their hearts are filled;
Their gifts so rare for all the host suffice;
Beore the alter is their life-wine spilled
The love they long for is their sacrifice.

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