Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
V. The Unattained
By Mrs. Elizabeth Oakes Smith (1806–1893)
AND is this life? and are we born for this?—
  To follow phantoms that elude the grasp,
  Or whatsoe’er secured, within our clasp
To withering lie, as if each earthly kiss
  Were doomed death’s shuddering touch alone to meet.        5
O Life! hast thou reserved no cup of bliss?
  Must still THE UNATTAINED beguile our feet?
THE UNATTAINED with yearnings fill the breast,
  That rob for aye the spirit of its rest?
Yes, this is Life; and everywhere we meet,        10
Not victor crowns, but wailings of defeat;
  Yet faint thou not: thou dost apply a test,
That shall incite thee onward, upward still:
The present cannot sate, nor e’er thy spirit fill.

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