The Legend of Good Women

I did not see thy shadow fall
Through gap of hedge or chink of wall;
God gave His whole great world to me
Before I have myself to thee.
I came not from the heartless fĂȘte
From loves more low than any hate
To smirch you with my drear defence
And my polluting penitence.
Nor ever failed I to believe
The honour of the house of Eve.

—The first ten lines of a poem by Gilbert intended for Frances. Quoted by biographer Maisie Ward in Return to Chesterton, Ch. III—A Much-Engaged Couple.