The Quest

A poem by Madison Julius Cawein


First I asked the honeybee,
Busy in the balmy bowers;
Saying, "Sweetheart, tell it me:
Have you seen her, honeybee?
She is cousin to the flowers -
All the sweetness of the south
In her wild-rose face and mouth."
But the bee passed silently.


Then I asked the forest bird,
Warbling by the woodland waters;
Saying, "Dearest, have you heard?
Have you heard her, forest bird?
She is one of music's daughters -
Never song so sweet by half
As the music of her laugh."
But the bird said not a word.


Next I asked the evening sky,
Hanging out its lamps of fire;
Saying, "Loved one, passed she by?
Tell me, tell me, evening sky!
She, the star of my desire -
Sister whom the Pleiads lost,
And my soul's high pentecost."
But the sky made no reply.


Where is she? ah, where is she?
She to whom both love and duty
Bind me, yea, immortally. -
Where is she? ah, where is she?
Symbol of the Earth-Soul's beauty.
I have lost her. Help my heart
Find her! her, who is a part
Of the pagan soul of me.

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