The Cup of Life
- One after one the high emotions fade;
- Time’s wheeling measure empties and refills
- Year after year; we seek no more the hills
- That lured our youth divine and unafraid,
- But swarming on some common highway, made
- Beaten and smooth, plod onward with blind feet
- And only where the crowded crossways meet
- We halt and question, anxious and dismayed.
- Yet can we not escape it; some we know
- Have angered and grown mad, some scornfully laughed;
- Yet surely to each lip — to mine to thine —
- Comes with strange scent and pallid poisonous glow
- The cup of Life, that dull Circean draught,
- That taints us all, and turns the half to swine.
About the Poet
Archibald Lampman (1861-1899), Canadian poet, widely regarded as Canada’s finest 19th-century English-language poet. He was a life-long employee of the Post Office Department in Ottawa, a member of the so-called “Confederation” group of poets which also included Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Carman and Duncan Campbell Scott.
During his life, Lampman’s poems appeared frequently in Canadian, US and British periodicals, notably The Week, The Globe, and the US magazines Harper’s and Scribner’s. [DES-6/03]