Alas! A Woman May Not Love!

By Augusta, Lady Gregory

Alas! a woman may not love!
For why should she bestow in vain
The riches of that treasure-trove
To win but a receipt of pain
For never will the gainer pay
In full the love she gives away –
Be in a brother – soon some other
Sweet maiden passing holds his eye
And in his thought she stands for naught
His second self in days gone by –
Be it a husband – ah! how soon
The rainbow-coloured honeymoon
Fades in dull tints of common life
With misty cares and clouds of strife –
Be it her sons – some few short years
They cling to her in smiles and tears
But childhood passes fast and then
The boys look on themselves as men
And learn too quickly to despise
The love lore in their mother’s eyes –
Or if – ah me! she chance to find
One led to her by wayward fate
In whom she learns a kindred mind
Found by her own too late – too late –
Ah pity her – for it she yield
What from remorse her soul can shield –
Or if she conquer, the sore strife
May yet have cost her half her life –
The wound that ne’er can be laid bare
May be the sorest scar to wear –
The grief that brings no right to weep
May be the one to banish sleep –
Perchance not so in heaven above –
But here, a woman may not love –


This poem is in the public domain.