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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

The Singer of One Song

By Henry Augustin Beers (1847–1926)

[From The Thankless Muse. 1885.]

HE sang one song and died—no more but that:

A single song and carelessly complete.

He would not bind and thresh his chance-grown wheat,

Nor bring his wild fruit to the common vat,

To store the acid rinsings, thin and flat,

Squeezed from the press or trodden under feet.

A few slow beads, blood-red and honey-sweet,

Oozed from the grape, which burst and spilled its fat.

But Time, who soonest drops the heaviest things

That weight his pack, will carry diamonds long.

So through the poets’ orchestra, which weaves

One music from a thousand stops and strings,

Pierces the note of that immortal song:—

“High over all the lonely bugle grieves.”