If I should die, to-day,
To-morrow, maybe, the world would see
Would waken from sleep, and say,
“Why here was talent! why here was worth!
Why here was a luminous light o’ the earth.
A soul as free
As the winds of the sea:
To whom was given
A dower of heaven.
And fame, and name, and glory belongs
To this dead singer of living songs.
Bring hither a wreath, for the bride of death!”
And so they would praise me, and so they would raise me
Mayhap, a column, high over the bed
Where I should be lying, all cold and dead.

But I am a living poet!
Walking abroad in the sunlight of God,
Not lying asleep, where the clay worms creep,
And the cold world will not show it,
E’en when it sees that my song should please;
But sneering says: “Avaunt, with thy lays
Do not sing them, and do not bring them
Into this rustling, bustling life.
We have no time, for a jingling rhyme,
In this scene of hurrying, worrying strife.”
And so I say, there is but one way
To win me a name, and bring me fame.
And that is, to die, and be buried low,
When the world would praise me, an hour or so.

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ella Wheeler Wilcox's poem Fame

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