“A Sonnet.—The Poet” by Elizabeth Oakes Smith

by Ann Neilson

A Sonnet.—The Poet.
Elizabeth Oakes Smith
From The Ladies’ Companion, October, 1842

IT cannot be—the baffled heart, in vain,
May seek amid the crowd its throbs to hide,
Ten thousand others, kindred pangs may bide;
Yet not the less will our own griefs complain.
Chained to our rock, the vulture’s gory stain
And tearing beak are every moment rife,
Renewing pangs, that end but with our life.
Thence bursteth forth the gushing voice of song—
The soul’s deep anguish thus an utterance finds,
Appealing to all hearts, and human minds
Bow down in awe; thence doth the bard belong
Unto all times.    And this, oh, this is fame!
He asked it not—his soul demanded bread,
And ye, charmed with the voice, gave but a stone
instead.