PENALTY

   Because of the fullness of what I had,
      All that I have seems poor and vain.
   If I had not been happy, I were not sad--
      Tho' my salt is savorless, why complain?

   From the ripe perfection of what was mine,
      All that is mine seems worse than naught;
   Yet I know, as I sit in the dark and pine,
      No cup could be drained which had not been fraught.

   From the throb and thrill of a day that was,
      The day that now is seems dull with gloom;
   Yet I bear the dullness and darkness because
      'Tis but the reaction of glow and bloom.

   From the royal feasts which of old was spread
      I am starved on the diet that now is mine;
   Yet I could not turn hungry from water and bread
      If I had not been sated on fruit and wine.

Poems of reflection. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago, M.A. Donohue & company [c1905].


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