IN THE DAWN of the day, when the sea and the earth,
Reflected the sunrise above,
I set forth, with a heart full of courage and mirth
To seek for the Kingdom of Love.
I asked of a Poet I met on the way
Which cross-road would lead me aright.
And he said: Follow me, and ere long you shall see
Its glistening turrets of light.
And soon in the distance a city shone fair,
Look yonder! he said; how it gleams!
But alas! for the hopes that were doomed to despair,
It was only the Kingdom of Dreams.
Then the next man I asked was a gay Cavalier,
And he said: Follow me, follow me;
And with laughter and song we went speeding along
By the shores of Life's beautiful sea.
Then we came to a valley more tropical far
Than the wonderful vale of Cashmere,
And I saw from a bower a face like a flower
Smile out on the gay Cavalier.
And he said: We have come to humanity's goal:
Here love and delight are intense.
But alas and alas ! for the hope of my soul,
It was only the Kingdom of Sense.
As I journeyed more slowly I met on the road
A coach with retainers behind.
And they said: Follow me, for our Lady's abode
Belongs in the realm, you will find.
'Twas a grand dame of fashion, a newly-made bride,
I followed, encouraged and bold;
But my hopes died away like the last gleams of day,
For we came to the Kingdom of Gold.
At the door of a cottage I asked a fair maid.
I have heard of that realm, she replied;
But my feet never roam from the 'Kingdom of Home,'
So I know not the way, and she sighed.
I looked on the cottage; how restful it seemed!
And the maid was as fair as a dove.
Great light glorified my soul as I cried:
Why home is the 'Kingdom of Love!'
--From The Kingdom of love and Other Poems. ELLA WHEELER WILCOX.
The Evening Bulletin [Philadelphia] 2 Dec. 1901: 7.
Courtesy of John M. Freiermuth.
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