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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
The Lost Eden
By William Watson (1858–1935)
 
From ‘The Poems of William Watson’ (2 vols.)

BUT yesterday was man from Eden driven.
His dream, wherein he dreamed himself the first
Of creatures, fashioned for eternity—
This was the Eden that he shared with Eve.
 
  Eve, the adventurous soul within his soul!        5
The sleepless, the unslaked! She showed him where
Amidst his pleasance hung the bough whose fruit
Is disenchantment and the perishing
Of many glorious errors. And he saw
His paradise how narrow: and he saw,—        10
He, who had well-nigh deemed the world itself
Of less significance and majesty
Than his own part and business in it!—how
Little that part, and in how great a world.
And an imperative world-thirst drave him forth,        15
And the gold gates of Eden clanged behind.
 
  Never shall he return: for he hath sent
His spirit abroad among the infinitudes,
And may no more to the ancient pales recall
The traveled feet. But oftentimes he feels        20
The intolerable vastness bow him down,
The awful homeless spaces daunt his soul;
And half-regretful he remembers then
His Eden lost, as some gray mariner
May think of the far fields where he was bred,        25
And woody ways unbreathed-on by the sea,
Though more familiar now the ocean-paths
Gleam, and the stars his father never knew.
 
 
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