“Yes!” I answered you last night;
“No!” this morning, Sir, I say!
Colours, seen by candle-light,
Will not look the same by day.
When the tabors played their best,
Lamps above, and laughs below —
Love me sounded like a jest,
Fit for Yes or fit for No!
Call me false, or call me free —
Vow, whatever light may shine,
No man on your face shall see
Any grief for change on mine.
Yet the sin is on us both —
Time to dance is not to woo —
Wooer light makes fickle troth —
Scorn of me recoils on you!
Learn to win a lady’s faith
Nobly, as the thing is high;
Bravely, as for life and death —
With a loyal gravity.
Lead her from the festive boards,
Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
Pure from courtship’s flatteries.
By your truth she shall be true —
Ever true, as wives of yore —
And her Yes, once said to you,
Shall be Yes for evermore.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning