Verses for an Album

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Fresh clad from heaven in robes of white,
A young probationer of light,
Thou wert, my soul, an Album bright.

A spotless leaf; but thought, and care—
And friends and foes, in foul or fair,
Have “written strange defeature” there.

And time, with heaviest hand of all,
Like that fierce writing on the wall,
Hath stamp’d sad dates—he can’t recall.

And error, gilding worst designs—
Like speckled snake that strays and shines—
Betrays his path by crooked lines.

And vice hath left his ugly blot—
And good resolves, a moment hot,
Fairly began—but finished not.

A fruitless late remorse doth trace—
Like Hebrew lore, a backward pace—
Her irrecoverable race.

Disjointed numbers—sense unknit—
Huge reams of folly—shreds of wit—
Compose the mingled mass of it.

My scalded eyes no longer brook,
Upon this ink-blurr’d thing to look.
Go—shut the leaves—and clasp the book!—

This work was published before January 1, 1924, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.