I have pledged thee, O ! exquisite maiden !
In beakers brimmed high with delight,
I have named thee when voices, love-laden,
Rang sweet through a passionate night;
And when incense from altars ascended
In the gloom of a sanctified place,
I have offered oblation more splendid —
The fame of thy beautiful face.
I shall bear in a casket deep hidden,
A casket framed out of my heart,
The thought of thy sweetness forbidden,
For dearer than honour thou art.
Ay! dearer than honour, and fairer,
My love these poor potions disdains,
I shall pledge thee in vintages rarer —
The warm blood that flows in my veins.
While others, made free of thy beauty,
May serve thee where honours are rife,
I, fettered to pitiless duty,
Take this, the red wine of my life,
With all its dear memories laden,
With all of my heart that is worth,
And pledge thee, O! exquisite maiden,
Then dash the poor goblet to earth,
To shatter in pieces and perish,
Yet sacred for ever to be,
For each broken fragment shall cherish
A deathless remembrance of thee.
Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 73-74
oblation = the act of offering something, such as thanks, worship, or even a sacrifice, to a diety (such as the presentation of bread and wine to God in the Eucharist)