Home  »  An American Anthology, 1787–1900  »  515 But Once

Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908). An American Anthology, 1787–1900. 1900.

By TheodoreWinthrop

515 But Once

TELL me, wide wandering soul, in all thy quest

Sipping or draining deep from crystal rim

Where pleasure sparkled, when did over brim

That draught its goblet with the fullest zest?

Of all thy better bliss what deemst thou best?

Then thus my soul made answer. Ecstasy

Comes once, like birth, like death, and once have I

Been, oh! so madly happy, that the rest

Is tame as surgeless seas. It was a night

Sweet, beautiful as she, my love, my light;

Fair as the memory of that keen delight.

Through trees the moon rose steady, and it blessed

Her forehead chastely. Her uplifted look,

Calm with deep passion, I for answer took,

Then sudden heart to heart was wildly pressed.