Classic and Contemporary Poetry
THE EMPTY SONG, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY Poet's Biography
First Line: What have we but an empty song
Last Line: But his soul is thirsty now.
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Singing & Singers; Soul; Thirst; Wind
"WHAT have we but an empty song?"
Said the minstrel, as he bent
To stay the fingers that trailed along
The strings of her instrument.
"The clasp of your hand is warm in mine,
And your breath on my brow is wet --
I have drunk of your lips as men drink wine,
But my heart is thirsty yet."
The starlight shivered a little space,
And the sigh of the wind uprose
And blew a cloud o'er the moon's wan face,
And swooned back in repose.
. . . . . . .
The years ooze on in a stagnant flood:
One drifts as the winds allow;
And one writes rhymes with his heart's own blood,
But his soul is thirsty now.
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