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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.


By Paul Hamilton Hayne (1830–1886)

ONCE I beheld thee, a lithe mountain maid,

Embrowned by wholesome toils in lusty air;

Whose clear blood, nurtured by strong primitive cheer,

Through Amazonian veins flowed unafraid.

Broad-breasted, pearly-teethed, thy pure breath strayed,

Sweet as deep-uddered kine’s curled in the rare

Bright spaces of thy lofty atmosphere,

O’er some rude cottage in a fir-grown glade.

Now, of each brave ideal virtue stripped,

O Poverty! I behold thee as thou art,—

A ruthless hag, the image of woeful dearth,

Of brute despair, gnawing its own starved heart.

Thou ravening wretch! fierce-eyed and monster-lipped,

Why scourge forevermore God’s beauteous earth?