Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
1457. A Drop of Ink
By Joseph Ernest Whitney
THIS drop of ink chance leaves upon my pen,
What might it write in Milton’s mighty hand!
What might it speak at Shakespeare’s high command!
What words to thrill the throbbing hearts of men!
Or from Beethoven’s soul a grand amen,        5
All life and death in one full compass spanned!
Who could its power in Goethe ’s touch withstand?
What words of truth it holds beyond our ken,—
What blessed promise we would fain be told,
And cannot,—what grim sentence dread as death,—        10
What venomous lie, that never shall unfold,—
What law, undoing science with a breath!
But—mockery of life’s quick-wasted lot—
Dropped on a virgin sheet ’t is but a blot!


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