Like a thorn in the flesh, like a fly in the mesh,
    Like a boat that is chained to shore,
The wild unrest of the heart in my breast
    Tortures me more and more.
I wot not why, it should wail and cry
    Like a child that is lost at night,
For it knew no grief, but has found relief,
    And it is not touched with blight.

It has had of pleasure full many a measure;
    It has thrilled with love's red wine;
It has hope and health, and youth's rare wealth--
    Oh rich is this heart of mine.
Yet it is not glad--it is wild and mad
    Like a billow before it breaks;
And its ceaseless pain is worse than vain,
    Since it knows not why it aches.

It longs to be, like the waves of the sea
    That rise in their might and beat
And dash and lunge, and hurry and plunge,
    And die at the grey rocks' feet.
It wearies of life and it sickens of strife
    And yet it tires of rest.
Oh! I know not why it should ache and cry--
    'Tis a troublesome heart at best.

Though not understood, I think it a good
    And God-like discontent.
It springs from the soul that longs for its goal--
    For the source from which it was sent.
Then surge, O breast, with thy wild unrest--
    Cry, heart, like a child at night,
Till the mystic shore of the Evermore
    Shall dawn on thy eager sight.

Yesterdays. By Ella Wheeler Wilcox.
London: Gay & Hancock, 1916.

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