English Poem “Fragments:” of poet Alan Seeger complete poem with summery for Students.


Alan Seeger

In that fair capital where Pleasure, crowned

Amidst her myriad courtiers, riots and rules,

I too have been a suitor. Radiant eyes

Were my life’s warmth and sunshine, outspread arms

My gilded deep horizons. I rejoiced

In yielding to all amorous influence

And multiple impulsion of the flesh,

To feel within my being surge and sway

The force that all the stars acknowledge too.

Amid the nebulous humanity

Where I an atom crawled and cleaved and sundered,

I saw a million motions, but one law;

And from the city’s splendor to my eyes

The vapors passed and there was nought but Love,

A ferment turbulent, intensely fair,

Where Beauty beckoned and where Strength pursued.


There was a time when I thought much of Fame,

And laid the golden edifice to be

That in the clear light of eternity

Should fitly house the glory of my name.

But swifter than my fingers pushed their plan,

Over the fair foundation scarce begun,

While I with lovers dallied in the sun,

The ivy clambered and the rose-vine ran.

And now, too late to see my vision, rise,

In place of golden pinnacles and towers,

Only some sunny mounds of leaves and flowers,

Only beloved of birds and butterflies.

My friends were duped, my favorers deceived;

But sometimes, musing sorrowfully there,

That flowered wreck has seemed to me so fair

I scarce regret the temple unachieved.


For there were nights . . . my love to him whose brow

Has glistened with the spoils of nights like those,

Home turning as a conqueror turns home,

What time green dawn down every street uprears

Arches of triumph! He has drained as well

Joy’s perfumed bowl and cried as I have cried:

Be Fame their mistress whom Love passes by.

This only matters: from some flowery bed,

Laden with sweetness like a homing bee,

If one have known what bliss it is to come,

Bearing on hands and breast and laughing lips

The fragrance of his youth’s dear rose. To him

The hills have bared their treasure, the far clouds

Unveiled the vision that o’er summer seas

Drew on his thirsting arms. This last thing known,

He can court danger, laugh at perilous odds,

And, pillowed on a memory so sweet,

Unto oblivious eternity

Without regret yield his victorious soul,

The blessed pilgrim of a vow fulfilled.


What is Success? Out of the endless ore

Of deep desire to coin the utmost gold

Of passionate memory; to have lived so well

That the fifth moon, when it swims up once more

Through orchard boughs where mating orioles build

And apple flowers unfold,

Find not of that dear need that all things tell

The heart unburdened nor the arms unfilled.

O Love, whereof my boyhood was the dream,

My youth the beautiful novitiate,

Life was so slight a thing and thou so great,

How could I make thee less than all-supreme!

In thy sweet transports not alone I thought

Mingled the twain that panted breast to breast.

The sun and stars throbbed with them; they were caught

Into the pulse of Nature and possessed

By the same light that consecrates it so.

Love! — ’tis the payment of the debt we owe

The beauty of the world, and whensoe’er

In silks and perfume and unloosened hair

The loveliness of lovers, face to face,

Lies folded in the adorable embrace,

Doubt not as of a perfect sacrifice

That soul partakes whose inspiration fills

The springtime and the depth of summer skies,

The rainbow and the clouds behind the hills,

That excellence in earth and air and sea

That makes things as they are the real divinity.

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