Pain can go guised as joy, dross pass for gold,
    Vulgarity can masquerade as wit,
Or spite wear friendship's garments; but I hold
    That passionate feeling has no counterfeit.
Chief jewel from Jove's crown 'twas sent men, lent
For inspiration and for sacrament.

Jove never could have made the Universe
    Had he not glowed with passion's sacred fire;
Though man oft turns the blessing to a curse,
    And burns himself on his own funeral pyre,
Though scarred the soul be where its light burns bright,
Yet where it is not, neither is there might.

Yea, it was set in Jove's resplendent crown
    When he created worlds; that done, why, hence,
He cast the priceless, awful jewel down
    To be man's punishment and recompense.
And that is how he sees and hears our tears
Unmoved and calm from the eternal spheres.

But sometimes, since he parted with all passion,
    In trifling mood, to pass the time away,
He has created men in that same fashion,
    And many women (jesting as gods may),
Who have no souls to be inspired or fired,
Mere sport of idle gods who have grown tired.

And these poor puppets, gazing in the dark
    At their own shadows, think the world no higher;
And when they see the all-creative spark
    In other souls, they straightway cry out, "Fire!"
And shriek, and rave, till their dissent is spent,
While listening gods laugh loud in merriment.

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

Back to Poem Index