What is failure? When the maiden
Pensive, reading from the page,
Breathes the crushèd roseleaf's fragrance
And far more than counsel sage
59Does its subtle odor woo her
On to happy fields of light,
Where love's tremulous requirements
All are reconciled quite,--
Has the sweet rose missed its mission,
With its petals rudely torn?
Nay! its perfume brought a vision,
Fairer than the fairest morn,
To the dreaming maiden: therefore
Grieve not rose, thy doom was best;
Murmur not to carry to her,
After tumult, hints of rest.
What is failure? When the poet
Hears his verses harshly scorned,
Can he yet forget the rapture,
That upon his spirit dawned,--
As the cadences so holy
Lulled his senses in a trance,
And aerial fingers dainty
Swept his lyre? Ay, perchance
He but loves the strains the better--
Tender nurslings from the skies--
And although no ruth awaits him,
Newer glory fills his eyes.
What is failure? Ah! we know not!
'Tis but an indiff'rent thing;
Sometimes to unrest an impulse,
Sometimes angels on the wing.
Calling us to finer raptures,
Chanting for us nobles strains,
From the world's dissatisfaction
Gleaning for us priceless gains.