Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
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Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
 
X. “Spirits there are inwrought with vilest clay”
By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)
 
SPIRITS there are inwrought with vilest clay,
  Which bear no God-like stamp of heavenly art,
  Whose envious instincts writhe with bitter smart
  Whene’er they feel some worthier nature’s sway.
Ah! who so basely-born, so curst as they!—        5
  Poor reptiles!—whose envenomed passions dart
  Back to transfix their own corrupted heart,
  And speed the progress of the soul’s decay.
We pity such, yet loathe them. Who can keep
  His honest scorn unspoken, should he see        10
  These human vipers strive their fangs to steep
In the soul-blood of fame’s Nobility?
  Who but is glad when the swift lightnings leap
  Of withering wrath, to blast them utterly?
 
 
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