Menu Close


The Lost Eden

By William Watson

Out of his indigence,
Royal the dowry
Man promised his soul.

“Not as the beasts
That perish, am I,” he said.
“Mine is eternity,
Theirs the frail day.”

Crown of creation
Long he conceited him
Next to their fashioner,
Lord of the worlds.


* Copyright in America by John Lane.

                        12 The Lost Eden

So in an Eden
Dwelt he, of fantasies.
Here and not otherwhere
Eve was his bride.

Eve the hot-hearted !
Eve the wild spirit
Of quest the adventurer !
Eve the unslaked.

She it was showed him
Where, in the midst
Of his pleasance, the knowledge-tree
Waiting him grew.

Wondrous the fruitage,
Maddening the taste therof;
Fiery like wine was it,
Fierce like a sting.


                        By William Watson 13

Straightway his Eden
Irked like a prison-house.
Vastness invited him.
“Come,” said the stars.

Thunderous behind him
Clang the gold Eden-gates.
Boundless in front of him
Opens the world.

Never returns he !—
Never again,
In the valleys that nurtured him,
Breathes the old airs !

Only in dreams
He seeks his lost heritage,
Knocks at the Eden-gate,
Wistful, athirst.


                        14 The Lost Eden

Ah, he is changed—
The sentinels know him not !
Here, ev’n in dreams,
He may enter no more.

MLA citation:

Watson, William. “The Lost Eden.” The Yellow Book, vol. 12, January 1897, pp. 11-14. Yellow Book Digital Edition, edited by Dennis Denisoff and Lorraine Janzen Kooistra, 2010-2014. Yellow Nineties 2.0, Ryerson University Centre for Digital Humanities, 2020.