Unto the source of song, that unseen place,
The poet turned his face,
And said, "I listen; let the Voices bring
New songs for me to sing,
New truths for me to utter unto men.
I would not sing the same old songs again."
The Voices answered, "Nay, all songs are old,
A sparkling spring, in ages gone, sprang up
From mother earth. To-day you fill your cup,
And offer it to some parched, thirsting lip.
The source from which you dip,
Oh, is it not as grateful and as cold
As if a thousand cups of curious mould
Had not been filled before from that same spring?
Sing, then, the old sings! Sing!"
The heart of a man is a universe,
With heaven in a blessing and hell in a curse.
In the thought of a man lies ever his fate;
There is life in loving and death in hate.
He will rise or fall, he will soar or sink,
Always and ever as he may think.
For the key to all mysteries here or above,
To birth, life, death, is in one word--love.
Ay, love is the secret of power and pelf,
And the key to the heart of the Maker Himself.
Sorrow touched Beauty's brow; it grew more fair,
As if a shining crown were resting there.
Then Worry's hand passed o'er that chiseled face,
And Beauty vanished, leaving not a trace.
Sorrow is noble, and of heavenly birth;
Worry is but a bastard of the earth.
Three gifts I would from thy great wealth beguile--
And one I would not for a kingdom miss--
And one that would unending joy impart--
A rose hung on a maiden's breast,
A brown bee hovered near.
Then, grieving, fled. The lover said:
"So you, too, sigh and fear."
The maiden watched the wee, winged thing,
And smiled as it departed.
"Methinks," quoth she, "that little bee
Was foolishly faint-hearted."
Her mouth was like a crumpled rose,
As fragrant and as fair.
I have not heard what next occurred--
But would you take a dare? By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
The Smart Set: A Magazine of Cleverness 3:1 (January 1901).
Courtesy of Elaine Russell.
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