Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, UNLESS, by JAMES WHITCOMB RILEY



Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

UNLESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Who has not wanted does not guess
Last Line: You to your own at last!
Alternate Author Name(s): Johnson Of Boone, Benj. F.
Subject(s): Despair; Hope; Love; Pain; Optimism; Suffering; Misery


WHO has not wanted does not guess
What plenty is. -- Who has not groped
In depths of doubt and hopelessness
Has never truly hoped. --
Unless, sometimes, a shadow falls
Upon his mirth, and veils his sight,
And from the darkness drifts the light
Of love at intervals.

And that most dear of everything.
I hold, is love; and who can sit
With lightest heart and laugh and sing,
Knows not the worth of it. --
Unless, in some strange throng, perchance,
He feels how thrilling sweet it is,
One yearning look that answers his --
The troth of glance and glance.

Who knows not pain, knows not, alas!
What pleasure is. -- Who knows not of
The bitter cup that will not pass,
Knows not the taste of love.
O souls that thirst, and hearts that fast,
And natures faint with famishing,
God lift and lead and safely bring
You to your own at last!





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