Once, on a cloudless summer-day

Once, on a cloudless summer-day,
Beneath a mantling vine I lay,
When Cupid came by chance that way,
And aimed at me an arrow.

He laid the dart upon the bow,
And drew the horn and sinew so,
And said, " My friend, you soon will know,
How keenly stings my arrow. "

His cheek was gay, his eye was bright,
And shot a piercing, bitter light:
He drew the nerve all tense and tight,
And then let fly his arrow.

The bow twanged sharp, and with a bound
At once its mark the weapon found;
I tingled with the fiery wound
Of that soul-kindling arrow.

He flapped his wings, away he flew,
And, turning backward, looked me through,
And slyly laughed, as forth I drew
The heart-encrimsoned arrow.

I felt my blood like lava glow,
I writhed, and twined, and wrestled so,
As madmen in their dying throe, —
I broke and cursed the arrow.

It is indeed a cruel thing,
When early youth is on the wing,
To feel, and keenly feel, the sting
Of such a poisoned arrow.
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