Of all the waltzes the great Strauss wrote,
mad with melody, rhythm–rife
From the very first to the final note,
Give me his “Artist’s Life!”

It stirs my blood to my finger ends,
Thrills me and fills me with vague unrest,
And all that is sweetest and saddest blends
Together within my breast.

It brings back that night in the dim arcade,
In love’s sweet morning and life’s best prime,
When the great brass orchestra played and played,
And set our thoughts to rhyme.

It brings back that Winter of mad delights,
Of leaping pulses and tripping feet,
And those languid moon-washed Summer nights
When we heard the band in the street.

It brings back rapture and glee and glow,
It brings back passion and pain and strife,
And so of all the waltzes I know,
Give me the “Artist’s Life.”

For it is so full of the dear old time–
So full of the dear friends I knew.
And under its rhythm, and lilt, and rhyme,
I am always finding–you.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem Artist’s Life

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