Make No Vows

I made a vow once, one only.
I was young and I was lonely.
When I grew strong I said: “This vow
Is too narrow for me now.
Who am I to be bound by old oaths?
I will change them as I change my clothes!”

But that ancient outworn vow
Was like fetters upon me now.
It was hard to break, hard to break;
Hard to shake from me, hard to shake.

I broke it by day, but it closed upon me at night.
He is not free who is free only in the sun-light.
He is not free who bears fetters in his dreams,
Nor he who laughs only by dark dream-fed streams.

Oh, it costs much bright coin of strength to live!
Watch, then, where all your strength you give!
For I, who would be so wild and wondrous now,
Must give, give, to break a burdening bitter vow.