Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Nov. 5, 1850 - Oct. 30, 1919



by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

You say that your nature is double; that life
Seems more and more intricate, complex, and dual,
Because in your bosom there wages the strife
'Twixt an angel of light and a beast that is cruel --
An angel who whispers your spirit has wings,
And a beast who would chain you to temporal things.

I listen with interest to all you have told,
And now let me give you my view of your trouble:
You are to be envied, not pitied; I hold
That every strong nature is always made double.
The beast has his purpose; he need not be slain:
He should serve the good angel in harness and chain.

The body that never knows carnal desires,
The heart that to passion is always a stranger,
Is merely a furnace with unlighted fires;
It sends forth no warmth while it threatens no danger
But who wants to shiver in cold safety there?
Touch flame to the fuel! then watch it with care.

Those wild, fierce emotions that trouble your soul
Are sparks from the great source of passion and power;
Throne reason above them, and give it control,
And turn into blessing this dangerous dower.
By lightnings unguided destruction is hurled,
But chained and directed they gladden the world.


Poems of Sentiment
Copyright 1911
Gay And Hancock, Ltd., London