"One drop of ruddy human blood puts more life into the veins of a poem than all the delusive 'aurum potabile' that can be distilled out of the choicest library."--Lowell.
Ah, yes, that "drop of human blood!"--
We had it once, may be,
When our young song's impetuous flood
First poured its ecstasy;
But now the shrunk poetic vein
Yields not that priceless drop again.
We toil,--as toiled we not of old;
Our patient hands distil
The shining spheres of chemic gold
With hard-won, fruitless skill;
But that red drop still seems to be
Beyond our utmost alchemy.
Perchance, but most in later age,
Time's after-gift, a tear,
Will strike a pathos on the page
Beyond all art sincere;
But that "one drop of human blood"
Has gone with life's first leaf and bud.