THE LOVE of man and woman is as fire,
To warm, to light, but surely to consume
And self-consuming die. There is no room
For constancy and passionate desire.
We stand at last beside a wasted pyre,
Touch its dead embers, groping in the gloom;
And where an altar stood, erect a tomb,
And sing a requiem to a broken lyre.
But comrade-love is as a welding blast
Of candid flame and ardent temperature:
Glowing most fervent, it doth bind more fast;
And melting both, but makes the union sure.
The dross alone is burnt—till at the last
The steel, if cold, is one, and strong and pure.