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    The Sonnet

    by Edith Wharton
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    PURE form, that like some chalice of old time
    Contain'st the liquid of the poet's thought
    Within thy curving hollow, gem-enwrought
    With interwoven traceries of rhyme,
    While o'er thy brim the bubbling fancies climb,
    What thing am I, that undismayed have sought
    To pour my verse with trembling hand untaught
    Into a shape so small yet so sublime?
    Because perfection haunts the hearts of men,
    Because thy sacred chalice gathered up
    The wine of Petrarch, Shakspere, Shelley--then
    Receive these tears of failure as they drop
    (Sole vintage of my life), since I am fain
    To pour them in a consecrated cup.
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