Verse > Anthologies > Higginson and Bigelow, eds. > American Sonnets
Higginson and Bigelow, comps.  American Sonnets.  1891.
By George Washington Wright Houghton (1850–1891)
HE failed. He reached to grasp Hesperides,
To track the footcourse of the sun, that flies
Toward some far-western couch, and watch its rise,—
But fell on unknown sand-reefs, chains, disease.
He won. With splendid daring, from the seas’        5
Hard, niggard fist he plucked the glittering prize,
And gave a virgin world to Europe’s eyes,
Where gold-dust choked the streams, and spice the breeze.
He failed fulfillment of the task he planned,
And drooped a weary head on empty hand,        10
Unconscious of the vaster deed he ’d done;
But royal legacy to Ferdinand
He left: a key to doorways gilt with sun,—
And proudest title of “World-father” won!

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