A curious conflict this of love and fear,
Honour and lust, and truth and trust beguiled:
One in the semblance of a rose-bright child:--
The other in a shape more gross and clear,
A fiercer woman-figure crowned severe
With garlands woven of scourges, but whose wild
Breast beat with splendour of sin, whose looks were mild,
Hiding the cruel smile behind a tear.
So she: "I knew you never would"; yet did
Such acts that no end otherwise might be.
So I: "I will not ever pluck the flower";
Yet strayed enchanted on the lawns forbid,
And bathed enamoured in the secret sea,
Both knowing our words were spoken--for an hour.