Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
610. The Lost Genius
By John James Piatt
A GIANT came to me when I was young,
  My instant will to ask—
My earthly Servant, from the earth he sprung
  Eager for any task!
“What wilt thou, O my Master?” he began,        5
  “Whatever can be,” I.
“Say thy first wish—whate’er thou wilt I can,”
  The Strong Slave made reply.
“Enter the earth and bring its riches forth,
  For pearls explore the sea.”        10
He brought, from East and West and South and North,
  All treasures back to me!
“Build me a palace wherein I may dwell.”
  “Awake and see it done,”
Spake his great voice at dawn. Oh, miracle        15
  That glittered in the sun!
“Find me the princess fit for my embrace,
  The vision of my breast;
For her search every clime and every race.”
  My yearning arms were blessed!        20
“Get me all knowledge.” Sages with their lore,
  And poets with their songs,
Crowded my palace halls at every door,
  In still, obedient throngs!
“Now bring me wisdom.” Long ago he went;        25
  (The cold task harder seems:)
He did not hasten with the last content—
  The rest, meanwhile, were dreams!
Houseless and poor, on many a trackless road,
  Without a guide, I found        30
A white-haired phantom with the world his load,
  Bending him to the ground!
“I bring thee wisdom, Master.” Is it he,
  I marvelled then, in sooth?
“Thy palace-builder, beauty-seeker, see!”        35
  I saw the Ghost of Youth!


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