Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN!, by LETITIA ELIZABETH LANDON

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WE MIGHT HAVE BEEN!, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: We might have been! - these are but common words
Last Line: We might have been.
Alternate Author Name(s): L. E. L.; Maclean, Letitia

We might have been! -- these are but common words,
And yet they make the sum of life's bewailing;
They are the echo of those finer chords,
Whose music life deplores when unavailing.
We might have been!

We might have been so happy! says the child,
Pent in the weary school-room during summer,
When the green rushes 'mid the marshes wild,
And rosy fruits, attend the radiant comer.
We might have been!

It is the thought that darkens on our youth,
When first experience -- sad experience -- teaches
What fallacies we have believed for truth,
And what few truths endeavour ever reaches.
We might have been!

Alas! how different from what we are
Had we but known the bitter path before us;
But feelings, hopes, and fancies left afar,
What in the wide bleak world can e'er restore us?
We might have been!

It is the motto of all human things,
The end of all that waits on mortal seeking;
The weary weight upon Hope's flagging wings,
It is the cry of the worn heart while breaking.
We might have been!

And when, warm with the heaven that gave it birth,
Dawns on our world-worn way Love's hour Elysian,
The last fair angel lingering on our earth,
The shadow of what thought obscures the vision?
We might have been!

A cold fatality attends on love,
To soon or else too late the heart-beat quickens;
The star which is our fate springs up above,
And we but say -- while round the vapour thickens --
We might have been!

Life knoweth no like misery; the rest
Are single sorrows, -- but in this are blended
All sweet emotions that disturb the breast;
The light that was our loveliest is ended.
We might have been!

Henceforth, how much of the full heart must be
A sealed book at whose contents we tremble?
A still voice mutters 'mid our misery,
The worst to hear, because it must dissemble --
We might have been!

Life is made up of miserable hours,
And all of which we craved a brief possessing,
For which we wasted wishes, hopes, and powers,
Comes with some fatal drawback on the blessing.
We might have been!

The future never renders to the past
The young beliefs intrusted to its keeping;
Inscribe one sentence -- life's first truth and last --
On the pale marble where our dust is sleeping --
We might have been.

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