Ella Wheeler Wilcox

5 November 1850 - 30 October 1919 / Johnstown Center / Rock County / Wisconsin

The Trio

We love but once. The great gold orb of light
From dawn to eventide doth cast his ray;
But the full splendour of his perfect might
Is reached but once throughout the live-long day.

We love but once. The waves, with ceaseless motion,
Do day and night plash on the pebbled shore;
But the strong tide of the resistless ocean
Sweeps in but one hour of the twenty-four.

We love but once. A score of times, perchance,
We may be moved in fancy’s fleeting fashion –
May treasure up a word, a tone, a glance,
But only once we feel the soul’s great passion.

We love but once. Love walks with death and birth
(The saddest, the unkindest of the three):
And only once while we sojourn on earth
Can that strange trio come to you or me.
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