Poems of Experience eBook

Ella Wheeler Wilcox
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 59 pages of information about Poems of Experience.

He has a regal bearing,
   Yet one that breathes repose;
It is the look and manner
   Of one who thinks and knows
Oh, men who govern nations,
   In old worlds or in new,
Turn to the London ‘Bobby’
   And learn a thing or two.

Read at the Benefit
of Clara Morris
(America’s great emotional actress)

The Radiant Rulers of Mystic Regions
Where souls of artists are fitted for birth
Gathered together their lovely legions
And fashioned a woman to shine on earth. 
   They bathed her in splendour,
   They made her tender,
They gave her a nature both sweet and wild;
They gave her emotions like storm-stirred oceans,
And they gave her the heart of a little child.

These Radiant Rulers (who are not human
Nor yet divine like the gods above)
Poured all their gifts in the soul of woman,
That fragile vessel meant only for love. 
   Still more they taught her,
   Still more they brought her,
Till they gave her the world for a harp one day: 
   And they bade her string it,
   They bade her ring it,
While the stars all wondered to hear her play.

She touched the strings in a master fashion,
She uttered the cry of a world’s despair: 
Its long hid secret, its pent-up passion,
She gave to the winds in a vibrant air. 
   For oh! the heart of her,
   That was the art of her. 
Great with the feeling that makes men kin. 
   Art unapproachable,
   Art all uncoachable,
Fragrance and flame from the spirit within.

The earth turns ever an ear unheeding
To the sorrows of art, as it cries ‘encore.’ 
And she played on the harp till her hands were bleeding,
And her brow was bruised by the laurels she wore. 
   She knew the trend of it,
   She knew the end of it —
Men heard the music and men felt the thrill. 
   Bound to the altar
   Of art, could she falter? 
Then came a silence—­the music was still.

And yet in the echoes we seem to hear it;
In waves unbroken it circles the earth: 
And we catch in the light of her dauntless spirit
A gleam from the centre that gave her birth. 
   Still is the fame of her
   Felt in the name of her —
But low lies the harp that once thrilled to her strain;
   No hand has taken it,
   No hand can waken it —
For the soul of her art was her secret of pain.


Two dead men boarded a spectral ship
   In the astral Port of Space;
On that ghost-filled barque, they met in the dark,
   And halted, face to face.

’Now whither away’—­called one of the ghosts,
   ’This ship sets sail for Earth. 
On the astral plane you must remain,
   Where the newly dead have birth.’

‘But I could not stay and I would not stay,’
   The other ghost replied;
’I must hurry back to the old Earth track
   And stand at my loved one’s side.

Project Gutenberg
Poems of Experience from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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