Lines to one who wished to read a poem I had written

        Nay, read it not, thou wouldst not know
            What lives within my heart,
        For from that fount it does not flow;
            'Tis but the voice of Art.
        I could not bid my proud heart speak,
            Before the idle throng;
        Rather in silence would it break
            With its full tide of Song.
        Yes, rather would it break, than bare,
            To cold and careless eyes,
        The hallowed dreams that linger there,
            The tears and agonies.
        My lyre is skillful to repress
            Each deep, impassioned tone;
        Its gushing springs of tenderness
            Would flow for one alone.
        The rock, that to the parching sand
            Would yield no dewy drop,
        Struck by the pilgrim prophet's want,
            Gave all its treasure up.
        My heart then, is my only lyre;
            The prophet hath not spoken,
        Nor kindled its celestial fire;
            So, let its chords be broken.
        I would not thou shouldst hear those lays,
            Though harsh they might not be;
        Though thou, perchance, might'st hear and praise,
            They would not speak of me.

This work was published before January 1, 1925, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.