The Cup of Life

Archibald Lampman 1861 (Upper Canada) – 1899 (Ottawa, Canada)



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 thin--
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.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

Modified on March 05, 2023

33 sec read
108

Quick analysis:

Scheme ABBAACCADEFDEG
Closest metre Iambic pentameter
Characters 614
Words 111
Stanzas 1
Stanza Lengths 14

Archibald Lampman

Archibald Lampman FRSC was a Canadian poet. "He has been described as 'the Canadian Keats;' and he is perhaps the most outstanding exponent of the Canadian school of nature poets." The Canadian Encyclopedia says that he is "generally considered the finest of Canada's late 19th-century poets in English." Lampman is classed as one of Canada's Confederation Poets, a group which also includes Charles G.D. Roberts, Bliss Carman, and Duncan Campbell Scott. more…

All Archibald Lampman poems | Archibald Lampman Books

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