Sonnet. Tarpeia

        "Give me the bracelets that your warriors wear,"
            The Roman traitress to the Sabine cried,
            "Give me the toys, and I will be your guide,
        And to your host the city's gates unbar."
        Then to the walls each eager warrior rushed,
            And on the base Tarpeia as he passed,
            Each from his arm the massive circlet cast,
        Till her slight form beneath the weight was crushed.
        Thus are our idle wishes. Thus we sigh
            For some imagined good yet unattained; --
            For wealth, or fame, or love, and which once gained
        May like a curse o'er all our future lie.
        Thus in our blindness do we ask of fate,
        The gifts that once bestowed may crush us with their weight.
 

This work was published before January 1, 1926, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.