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Poem by Ella Wheeler Wilcox


In Vain


The artist looks down on his canvass,
   And smothers a heart-weary sigh,
And he sees not the beautiful picture
   That glows with the hues of the sky.
For a picture that cannot be painted
   Burns into the artist's brain,
And he weeps as he sits at his easel,
   And sobs through his sorrow, "In vain."

The poet reads over his poem,
   The thoughts of a Heaven-lent soul--
And sweet as the ripple of waters
   The beautiful sentences roll.
But a poem that cannot be written,
   Burns into the poet's brain,
And he weeps in a passion of anguish,
   And sobs through his sorrow, "In vain."

The musician sits at his organ,
   And the air echoes sweet melodies.
But his heart cries for sounds that are better
   Than the sounds that he draws from the keys.
For a chord that has never been sounded---
   A passionate,---ecstatic strain.
And he weeps as he sits at the organ,
   And sobs through his sorrow, "In vain."

Oh Artist, Musician and Poet!
   Three souls that were lent to the earth
To brighten with fingers of beauty
   This bare, barren planet of dearth!
You dream of the glories of Heaven,
   And vainly are striving to show
To the gaze of the clay-fettered mortals,
   The things that no mortal shall know. 

1871

Ella Wheeler Wilcox


Ella Wheeler Wilcox's other poems:
  1. Bleak Weather
  2. When I Die
  3. At Set of Sun
  4. But a Dream
  5. Climbing


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Emily Dickinson In Vain ("I Cannot Live with You")

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