Life is a ponderous lesson book, and Fate
   The teacher. When I came to love's fair leaf
My teacher turned the page and bade me wait.
   "Learn first," she said, "love's grief";
And o'er and o'er through many a long to-morrow
   She kept me conning that sad page of sorrow.

Cruel the task; and yet it was not vain.
   Now the great book of life I know by heart.
In that one lesson of love's loss and pain
   Fate doth the whole impart.
For, by the depths of woe, the mind can measure
   The beauteous unscaled summits of love's pleasure.

Now, with the book of life upon her knee,
   Fate sits! the unread page of love's delight
By her firm hand is half concealed from me,
   And half revealed to sight.
Ah Fate! be kind! so well I learned love's sorrow,
   Give me its full delight to learn to-morrow.

Three Women. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
Chicago ; New York : W.B. Conkey Company, 1897.

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