The Unattained by Elizabeth Oakes Smith

And is this life? and are we born for this?
To follow phantoms that elude the grasp,
Or whatso’er’s secured, within our clasp,
To withering lie, as if each mortal kiss
Were doomed death’s shuddering touch alone to meet.
O Life! has thou reserved no cup of bliss?
Must still THE UNATTAINED beguile our feet?
The UNATTAINED with yearnings fill the breast,
That rob, for aye, the spirit of its rest?
Yes, this is Life; and everywhere we meet,
Not victor crowns, but wailings of defeat;
Yet faint thou not, thou dost apply a test,
That shall incite thee onward, upward still,
The present cannot sate, nor e’er thy spirit fill.

From: Smith, Elizabeth Oakes, The Poetical Writings of Elizabeth Oakes Smith, 2nd Edition, 1846, J.S. Redfield, Clinton Hall: New York, p. 97.

Date: 1843

By: Elizabeth Oakes Smith (1806-1893)

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