Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, POSTHUMOUS, by HENRY AUGUSTIN BEERS

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

POSTHUMOUS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Put them in print?
Last Line: "the breath that gave it life was thine."
Subject(s): Poetry & Poets

PUT them in print?
Make one more dint
In the ages' furrowed rock? No, no!
Let his name and his verses go.
These idle scraps, they would but wrong
His memory, whom we honored long,
And men would ask: "Is this the best --
Is this the whole his life expressed?"
Haply he had no care to tell
To all the thoughts which flung their spell
Around us when the night grew deep,
Making it seem a loss to sleep,
Exalting the low, dingy room
To some high auditorium.
And when we parted homeward, still
They followed us beyond the hill.
The heaven had brought new stars to sight,
Opening the map of later night;
And the wide silence of the snow,
And the dark whispers of the pines,
And those keen fires that glittered slow
Along the zodiac's wintry signs,
Seemed witnesses and near of kin
To the high dreams we held within.

Yet what is left
To us bereft,
Save these remains,
Which now the moth
Will fret, or swifter fire consume?
These inky stains
On his table-cloth;
These prints that decked his room;
His throne, this ragged easy-chair;
This battered pipe, his councillor.
This is the sum and inventory.
No son he left to tell his story,
No gold, no lauds, no fame, no book.
Yet one of us, his heirs, who took
The impress of his brain and heart,
May gain from Heaven the lucky art
His untold meanings to impart
In words that will not soon decay.
Then gratefully will such one say:
"This phrase, dear friend, perhaps, is mine;
The breath that gave it life was thine."

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