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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889

An Empty Heart

By William Winter (1836–1917)

[From Wanderers. 1889.]

[Lines to a Beautiful Lady, Sent with a Heart-shaped Jewel-box.]

WELL, since our lot must be to part

(These lots—how they do push and pull one!)

I send you here an empty heart,

But send it from a very full one.

My little hour of joy is done,

But every vain regret I smother,

With murm’ring, “When you see the one,

Think kindly sometimes of the other.”

This heart must always do your will,

This heart your maid can fetch and carry,

This heart will faithful be, and still

Will not importune you to marry.

That other, craving hosts of things,

Would throb and flutter, every minute;

But this, except it hold your rings,

Will mutely wait with nothing in it.

Oh, happy heart! that finds its bliss

In pure affection consecrated!

But happier far the heart, like this,

That heeds not whether lone or mated;

That stands unmoved in beauty’s eyes,

That knows not if you leave or take it,

That is not hurt though you despise,

And quite unconscious when you break it.

That other heart would burn, and freeze,

And plague, and hamper, and perplex you,

But this will always stand at ease,

And never pet and never vex you.

Go, empty heart! and if she lift

Your little lid this prayer deliver:

“Ah, look with kindness on the gift,

And think with kindness on the giver.”