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The Old Guitar

 Neglected now is the old guitar
And moldering into decay;
Fretted with many a rift and scar
That the dull dust hides away,
While the spider spins a silver star
In its silent lips to-day.
The keys hold only nerveless strings-- The sinews of brave old airs Are pulseless now; and the scarf that clings So closely here declares A sad regret in its ravelings And the faded hue it wears.
But the old guitar, with a lenient grace, Has cherished a smile for me; And its features hint of a fairer face That comes with a memory Of a flower-and-perfume-haunted place And a moonlit balcony.
Music sweeter than words confess, Or the minstrel's powers invent, Thrilled here once at the light caress Of the fairy hands that lent This excuse for the kiss I press On the dear old instrument.
The rose of pearl with the jeweled stem Still blooms; and the tiny sets In the circle all are here; the gem In the keys, and the silver frets; But the dainty fingers that danced o'er them-- Alas for the heart's regrets!-- Alas for the loosened strings to-day, And the wounds of rift and scar On a worn old heart, with its roundelay Enthralled with a stronger bar That Fate weaves on, through a dull decay Like that of the old guitar!

Poem by James Whitcomb Riley
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