Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.



As treasures that men seek,

Deep buried in sea-sands,

Vanish if they but speak,

And elude their eager hands,—

So ye escape and slip,

O songs, and fade away,

When the word is on my lip

To interpret what ye say.

Were it not better, then,

To let the treasures rest

Hid from the eyes of men

Locked in their iron chest?

I have but marked the place,

But half the secret told,

That, following this slight trace,

Others may find the gold.