Verse > Anthologies > George Willis Cooke, ed. > The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology
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George Willis Cooke, comp.  The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology.  1903.
 
Weltschmerz
By Joel Benton (1832–1911)
 
THE CHILD-EYED wonder with which life began,
  The prattling voice of joy, the heart of glee,
Have followed not the footsteps of the man;
  A world more sorrowful it is that he
Must battle with, and fearlessly explore:        5
  Far fades the gleam of Life’s once purpled sea
When Youth was ours—the Youth that comes no more.
 
Those happy shores retreat which once we knew;
  The well-loved voices, hushed and still are they;
Lost halcyon years, with skies of deepest blue,        10
  Dear hearts that vanished some sad yesterday
Leave our life’s journey dark. Alas, how true
  This deep World-Sorrow shadows all our way!
 
Yet somewhere, to some unknown, far-off strand,
  Whose silver coast beyond the horizon’s rim        15
    Gleams with sweet promise, they perchance have passed,
  Where all is plain which now seems dark and dim;
And when we reach it we shall understand
    The mystery—the puzzle real at last—
And find beyond these shadows and shed tears        20
The perfect joy of Heaven’s untarnished years.
 
 
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