English, Department of



Date of this Version





The verse herein printed was written by students now in residence at the University of Nebraska. The first poem in the book received the prize of fifty dollars offered by the class of 1898, and the second poem the prize of twenty-five dollars offered by the Vestals, an organization of girls in the College of Arts and Sciences. The committee chose twenty poems, which were submitted for the final award to Christopher Morley, John G. Neihardt and Percy MacKaye. The title page was designed by Gladys Lux.--LOUISE POUND, CONSTANCE SYFORD, HARTLEY B. ALEXANDER, SHERLOCK B. GASS, J. A. RICE, JR.

FIRST PRIZE POEM (University of Nebraska Competition, 1924)


I dare not be too long alone

Lest I awake and find me gone;

Lest there come thunder in my ears,

The rush of wings, the clash of spears,

The riving of timber, and in my eyes,

The stinging smoke of Paradise;

Lest heaviness should halt my blood

In its swift course, a seething flood

Of molten lava, burning wine

Possess this body I call mine,

Rush hotly through my finger-tips,

Strike leaping flames from my parched lips,

Filling my veins with such a fire

As Sidon knew or ravaged Tyre.

Under my breast my heart might grow

Too hot and high to be held so.

My sentient self might rise and say,

“I am very strong; I will not stay.

I am not you nor any woman;

I am not God, I am not human.

It is no task to tear apart

The puny prison of your heart.”

I dare not be too long alone

Lest I awake and find me gone.

— Janet Pressley