A poem by Madison Julius Cawein

There are some souls
Whose lot it is to set their hearts on goals
That adverse Fate controls.

While others win
With little labor through life's dust and din,
And lord-like enter in

Immortal gates;
And, of Success the high-born intimates,
Inherit Fame's estates. . .

Why is't the lot
Of merit oft to struggle and yet not
Attain? to toil for what?

Simply to know
The disappointment, the despair and woe
Of effort here below?

Ambitious still to reach
Those lofty peaks, which men aspiring preach,
For which their souls beseech:

Those heights that swell
Remote, removed, and unattainable,
Pinnacle on pinnacle:

Still yearning to attain
Their far repose, above life's stress and strain,
But all in vain, in vain!. . .

Why hath God put
Great longings in some souls and straightway shut
All doors of their clay hut?

The clay accurst
That holds achievement back; from which, immersed,
The spirit may not burst.

Were it, at least,
Not better to have sat at Circe's feast,
If afterwards a beast?

Than aye to bleed,
To strain and strive, to toil in thought and deed,
And nevermore succeed?

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