That melancholy phrase "It might have been,"
    However sad, doth in its heart enfold
    A hidden germ of promise! for I hold
Whatever might have been shall be.
                                      Though in
Some other realm and life, the soul must win
    The goal that erst was possible. But cold
    And cruel as the sound of frozen mold
Dropped on a coffin, are the words "Has been."

"She has been beautiful"--"he has been great,"
    "Rome has been powerful," we sigh and say.
    It is the pitying crust we toss decay,
The dirge we breathe o'er some degenerate state

An epitaph for fame's unburied dead.
God pity those who live to hear it said.

Poems of sentiment by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago, IL : W. B. Conkey Company, c1906.

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