Will faith decay when hearts have but to wait?"
"The sorest trial that Love is called to bear ,
Is waiting, hopeless waiting," Cecil said,
"And Rutherford perhaps was right, if Hope
So well sustains the heart of him who waits.
For otherwise, throughout the waiting time,
Must Love feed on itself and wear away."
Then spoke Rasalle:
"Fie on the changeful heart,
That touched by Love and bound by Honor's ties,
Cannot be true an half score years or more.
And what though Hope should set? I know a flower
That, nodding to the westward-sloping sun,
With steadfast purpose turns before the dawn
To greet his entrance through the eastern gates.
And what though Love should ebb? Does not the shell
That's flung upon the dry and senseless sand
Forever keep the wooing of the sea
Within its heart? I know a Book that says:
'Pay that which thou hast vowed; 't is better far
Thou shouldst not vow, than vow and. pay it not?'
And we were right, for it is Constancy
That best sustains the heart of him who waits."
"But what is this you sanction?" Nina cried,
"A hopeless waiting,__Honor stripped of Love,
The payment of__it might be__light made vows,
Mere steadfastness of purpose,__nothing more.
Perchance some strange perplexities would rise,