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Poem by Edith Wharton


A Failure


I MEANT to be so strong and true!
The world may smile and question, When?
But what I might have been to you
I cannot be to other men.
Just one in twenty to the rest,
And all in all to you alone, --
This was my dream; perchance 'tis best
That this, like other dreams, is flown.

For you I should have been so kind,
So prompt my spirit to control,
To win fresh vigor for my mind,
And purer beauties for my soul;
Beneath your eye I might have grown
To that divine, ideal height,
Which, mating wholly with your own,
Our equal spirits should unite.

To others I am less than naught;
To you I might have been so much,
Could but your calm, discerning thought
Have put my powers to the touch!
Your love had made me doubly fair;
Your wisdom made me thrice as wise,
Lent clearer lustre to my hair,
And read new meanings in my eyes.

Ah, yes, to you I might have been
That happy being, past recall,
The slave, the helpmeet, and the queen, --
All these in one, and one in all.
But that which I had dreamed to do
I learned too late was dreamed in vain,
For what I might have been to you
I cannot be to other men.



Edith Wharton


Edith Wharton's other poems:
  1. Chartres
  2. Happiness
  3. Song (Come, for the leaf is alight)
  4. An Autumn Sunset
  5. The Parting Day


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