James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Inscribed Poem by James Whitcomb Riley


To the Elect of Love,--or side-by-side
In raptest ecstasy, or sundered wide
By seas that bear no message to or fro
Between the loved and lost of long ago.


So were I but a minstrel, deft
At weaving, with the trembling strings
Of my glad harp, the warp and weft
Of rondels such as rapture sings,--
I'd loop my lyre across my breast,
Nor stay me till my knee found rest
In midnight banks of bud and flower
Beneath my lady's lattice-bower.

And there, drenched with the teary dews,
I'd woo her with such wondrous art
As well might stanch the songs that ooze
Out of the mockbird's breaking heart;
So light, so tender, and so sweet
Should be the words I would repeat,
Her casement, on my gradual sight,
Would blossom as a lily might.

Submitted: Friday, April 09, 2010

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