Bernard O'Dowd

Love's Substitute

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This love, that dares not warm before its flame
Our yearning hands, or from its tempting tree
Yield fruit we may consume, or let us claim
In Hymen's scroll of happy heraldry
The twining glyphs of perfect you and me --
May kindle social fires whence curls no blame,
Find gardens where no fruits forbidden be,
And mottoes weave, unsullied by a shame.


For, love, unmothered Childhood wanly waits
For such as you to cherish it to Youth:
Raw social soils untilled need Love's own verve
That Peace a-flower may oust their weedy hates:
And where Distress would faint from wolfish sleuth
The perfect lovers' symbol is "We serve!"

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Bernard O'Dowd