MY HERITAGE

I into life so full of love was sent,
    That all the shadows which fall on the way
    Of every human being, could not stay,
But fled before the light my spirit lent.

I saw the world through gold and crimson dyes:
    Men sighed, and said, "Those rosy hues will fade
    As you pass on into the glare and shade!"
Still beautiful the way seems to mine eyes.

They said, "You are too jubilant and glad;
    The world is full of sorrow and of wrong.
    For soon your lips shall breathe forth sighs--not song!"
The day wears on, and yet I am not sad.

They said, "You love too largely, and you must
    Through wound on wound, grow bitter to your kind."
    They were false prophets; day by day I find
More cause for love, and less cause for distrust.

They said, "Too free you give your soul's rare wine;
    The world will quaff, but it will not repay."
    Yet into the emptied flagons, day by day,
True hearts pour back a nectar as divine.

Thy heritage! Is it not love's estate?
    Look to it, then, and keep its soil well tilled.
    I hold that my best wishes are fulfilled
Because I love so much, and cannot hate.

Poems of Passion by Ella Wheeler
Chicago : Belford, Clarke & Co, 1883.


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