'GIVE me thy dreams,' she said, and I
With empty hands and very poor,
Watched my fair flowery visions die
Upon the temple's marble floor.

'Give joy,' she said. I let joy go;
I saw with cold, unclouded eyes
The crimson of the sunset glow
Across the disenchanted skies.

'Give me thy youth,' she said. I gave,
And, sudden-clouded, died the sun,
And on the green mound of a grave
Fell the slow raindrops, one by one.

'Give love,' she cried. I gave that too.
'Give beauty.' Beauty sighed and fled;
For what on earth should beauty do,
When love, who was her life, was dead?

She took the balm of innocent tears
To hiss upon her altar-coal;
She took the hopes of all my years,
And, at the last, she took my soul.

With heart made empty of delight,
And hands that held no more fair things
I questioned her--'What shall requite
The savour of my offerings?'

'The Gods,' she said, 'with generous hand
Give guerdon for thy gifts of cost--
Wisdom is thine--to understand
The worth of all that thou hast lost!'

More verses by Edith Nesbit