The Squanderer

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   God gave him passions, splendid as the sun,
   Meant for the lordliest purposes; a part
   Of nature’s full and fertile mother heart,
   From which new systems and new stars are spun.
   And now, behold, behold, what he has done!
      In Folly’s court and carnal Pleasures’ mart
      He flung the wealth life gave him at the start.
   (This, of all mortal sins, the deadliest one.)

   At dawn he stood, potential, opulent,
      With virile manhood, and emotions keen,
         And wonderful with God’s creative fire.
   At noon he stands, with Love’s large fortune spent
      In petty traffic, unproductive, mean—
         A pauper, cursed with impotent desire.

from An Englishman and Other Poems by Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1912)

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