Alone in my cozy chamber--
   Yet I cannot read or write,
For the spell of the past is upon me
   And sways my heart to-night.
My lecture lies half completed;
   My books hold many a gem
That is mine, I know, for the taking--
   But to-night I turn from them.

O world! do you brand forever
   The hearts that have once been thine?
Are they cursed with the curse of longing
   Who have once knelt at thy shrine?
I drank my fill of thy pleasures--
   Drank till the sweets were sour,
And I counted the cost--and the charm was lost
   And I freed myself from thy power.

I said, "I will seek for knowledge!
   I will climb to higher ground.
For there are on the hills of Wisdom,
   True pleasure, alone, is found."
So here with my books and studies,
   With my flute, and violin,
I spend the days to my profit--
   And at eve, some friend drops in.

And we chat o'er our cozy supper,
   Of Science, Progress, Art,
And I feel with a glow of pleasure,
   In these I have earned a part.
I shall leave some good behind me--
   I have worked for God, and man;
I have dug some truths from the mine of thought,
   And aided an All-wise plan.

And yet--and yet--ah Heaven!
   There come to me times like this,
When I thirst for empty pleasures--
   For the world and its cheating bliss.
I long with sensuous longing
   For the perfume, glitter, and glow,
That drugged the reason and senses,
   And set the spirits aflow.

Oh to be back this moment--
   For an hour of the old delight!
Oh for the strains of the "Danube,"
   For the revel and ball, to-night!
Oh for the feast, and the banquet,
   The toast and the maddening wine!
Oh world! do you curse forever,
   A heart that has once been thine?

Maurine by Ella Wheeler
Milwaukee: Cramer, Aikens & Cramer, 1876.

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