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Not By Bread Alone
James Terry White


If thou of fortune be bereft,
And thou dost find but two loaves left
To theeĀ—sell one, and with the dole
Buy hyacinths to feed thy soul.

But not alone does beauty bide
Where bloom and tint and fragrance hide;
The minstrel's melody may feed
Perhaps a more insistent need.

But every beauty, howe'er blent
To ear or eye, fails to content;
Only the heart, with love afire,
Can satisfy the soul's desire.

From A Garden of Remembrance (James T. White & Co.,1917).
This poem is now in the public domain.

James Terry White (1845–1920) was born in Massachusetts and evolved into rather a Renaissance man through his participation in a variety of interests and activities. He founded a publishing company, served as president of a typewriter company, a mining company, and a rubber company, was vice-president of a press bureau and a pharmacy, and even invented a medical manikin. In between all that, he managed to create several collections of poetry. This poem is usually attributed to John Greenleaf Whittier, but research by the Paris Review and author and scholar Dr. Daniel Swift indicates that a variation of this poem, written by White, appeared in Century magazine in August 1907.

Post New Comment:
michael escoubas:
Love the couplet rhyme. Wonderful post for the times in which we live.
Posted 04/27/2019 10:03 PM
beautifully said.
Posted 04/27/2019 11:20 AM
Janet Leahy:
Love the language in this poem, thanks Jayne for making clear the author of this piece.
Posted 04/27/2019 09:18 AM
Only love!!!!
Posted 04/27/2019 09:10 AM
That first verse (although written slightly defferent) has long been my very favorite . I have kept it in my heart and mind for at least 50 years. The thought, whoever first wrote it has a grace that I have found in no other. It is nearly mystical to me.
Posted 04/27/2019 08:49 AM

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