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Alexander Pope

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Vain was the chief's, the sage's pride!
They had no poet, and they died.
In vain they schem'd, in vain they bled!
They had no poet, and are dead.
Odes, Book iv, Ode 9, reported in William Warburton, The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq (1751) p. 31.

Alexander Pope

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There is joy over disappointment
And delight in hopes that were vain.
Each poet is glad there was no cure
To stop his lonely pain.
For nothing keeps a poet
In his high singing mood
Like unappeasable hunger
For unattainable food.

Joyce Kilmer

Almost his first words were, "Well, let us go and talk with the poets!"
In vain I assured this untamed poet that the "Bards of San Francisco Bay," whom he had so naively saluted, had taken the vows of neither brotherhood nor sisterhood; that they feasted at no common board; flocked not; discoursed with no beaded rills; neither did their skilled hands sweep any strings whatever, and he must, therefore, listen in vain for the seraphic song.

Joaquin Miller

For ne'er
Was flattery lost on poet's ear:
A simple race! they waste their toil
For the vain tribute of a smile.

Walter Scott

Call it not vain;—they do not err,
Who say, that when the Poet dies,
Mute Nature mourns her worshipper,
And celebrates his obsequies.

Walter Scott

Forever seeking, never found,
In this wide varied scene;
Sole object of unceasing search,
While in this low terrene.
Yet vain the search, if in the heart
Some lurking passion dwell;
For this will hang with cypress wreath
Retirement's secret cell.
In vain the outward scene is calm,
In vain the world we fly;
If thou, in pure religion's garb,
Thy friendly aid deny.

Elizabeth Bath
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