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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

But Once

By Theodore Winthrop (1828–1861)

TELL me, wide wandering soul, in all thy quest

Sipping or draining deep from crystal rim

Where pleasure sparkled, when did overbrim

That draught its goblet with the fullest zest?

Of all thy better bliss what deem’st thou best?

Then thus my soul made answer. Ecstasy

Comes once, like birth, like death, and once have I

Been, oh! so madly happy, that the rest

Is tame as surgeless seas. It was a night

Sweet, beautiful as she, my love, my light;

Fair as the memory of that keen delight.

Through trees the moon rose steady, and it blessed

Her forehead chastely. Her uplifted look,

Calm with deep passion, I for answer took,

Then sudden heart to heart was wildly pressed.