Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
By James Russell Lowell (1819–1891)
[Born in Cambridge, Mass., 1819. Died there, 1891. From Poetical Works. Collective Edition. 1885.]

  I SAW the twinkle of white feet,
I saw the flash of robes descending;
  Before her ran an influence fleet,
That bowed my heart like barley bending.
  As, in bare fields, the searching bees        5
Pilot to blooms beyond our finding,
  It led me on, by sweet degrees
Joy’s simple honey-cells unbinding.
  Those Graces were that seemed grim Fates;
With nearer love the sky leaned o’er me;        10
  The long-sought Secret’s golden gates
On musical hinges swung before me.
  I saw the brimmed bowl in her grasp
Thrilling with godhood; like a lover
  I sprang the proffered life to clasp;—        15
The beaker fell; the luck was over.
  The Earth has drunk the vintage up;
What boots it patch the goblet’s splinters?
  Can Summer fill the icy cup,
Whose treacherous crystal is but Winter’s?        20
  O spendthrift haste! await the Gods;
Their nectar crowns the lips of Patience;
  Haste scatters on unthankful sods
The immortal gift in vain libations.
  Coy Hebe flies from those that woo,        25
And shuns the hands would seize upon her;
  Follow thy life, and she will sue
To pour for thee the cup of honor.

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