Normale Version: The Poets Life (6)
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The Poets Life


With no fond, sickly thirst for fame I knel,
O goddess of the high-born art, to thee;
Not unto thee with semblance of a zeal
I come, O pure and heaven-eyed Poesy!

Thou art to me a spirit and a love,
Felt ever from the time when first the earth
In its green beauty, and the sky above,
Informed my soul with joy too deep for mirth.

I was a child of thine before my tongue
Could lisp its infant utterance unto thee;
And now, albeit from my harp are flung
Discordant numbers, and the song may be

That which I would not, yet I know that thou
The offering wilt not spurn, while thus to thee I bow.

The Bard

It can not be, the baffled heart, in vain,
May seek, amid the crowd, its throbs to hide;
Ten thousand others kindred pangs may bide,
Yet not the less will our own griefs complain.

Chained to our rock, the vultur’s gory stain,
And tearing beak is every moment rife,
Renewering pangs that end but with our life.
Thence bursteh forth the gushing voice of song,

The soul’s deep anguish thence an utterance finds,
Appealing to all hearts: and human minds
Bow down in awe: thence doth the Bard belong,

Unto all times: the laurel steeped in wrong
Unsought is his: his soul demanded bread,
And ye, charmed with the voice, gave but a stone instead.

The Unattained

And is this life? and are we born for this? –
To follow phantoms that elude the grasp,
Or whatsoe’er secured, within our clasp
To withering lie, as if each earthly kiss

Were doomed death’s shuddering touch alone to meet.
O Life! hast thou reserved no cup of bliss?
Must still THE UNATTAINED beguile our feet?
THE UNATTAINED with yearnings fill the breast,

That rob for aye the spirit of its rest?
Yes, this is Life; and everywhere we meet,
Not victor crowns, but wailings of defeat;

Yet faint thou not: thou dost apply a test,
That shall incite thee onward, upward still:
The present cannot sate, nor e’er thy spirit fill.


Alone, yet not alone, the heart doth brood
With a sad fondness o’er its hidden grief;
Broods with a miser joy, wherein relief
Comes with a semblance of its own quaint mood.

How many hearts this point of life have passed!
And some a train oflight behind have cast,
To show us what hath been, and what may be;
That thus have suffered all the wise and good,

Thus wept and prayed, thus struggled and were free.
So doth the pilot, trackless though the deep,
Unswerving by the stars his reckoning keep,

He moves a highway not untried before,
And thence he courage gains, and joy doth reap,
Unfaltering lays his course, and leaves behind the shore.

The Dream

I dreamed last night, that I myself did lay
Within the grave, and after stood and wept.
My spirit sorrowed where its ashes slept!
‘T was a strange dream, and yet methinks it may

Prefigure that which is askin to truth.
How sorrow we o’er perished dreams of youth,
High hopes and aspirations doomed to be
Crushed and o’ermastered by earth’s destiny!

Fame, that the spirit loathing turns to ruth, -
And that deluding faith, so loath to part,
That earth will shrine for us one kindred heart!

O, ‘t is the ashes of such things that wring
Tears from the eyes; hopes like to these depart,
And we bow down in dread, o’vershadowed by Death’s wing.

An Incident

A simple thing, yet chancing as it did,
When life was bright with its illusive dreams,
A pledge and promise seemed beneath it hid
The ocean lay before me, tinged with beams
That lingering draped the west, a wavering stir;
And at my feet down fell a worn gray quill:
And eagle, high above the darkling fir,
With steady flight, seemed there to take his fill
Of that pure ether breathed by him alone.
O noble bird! why didst thou loose for me
Thy eagle plume? still unessayed, unknown,
Must be that pathway fearless winged by thee:
I ask it not, no lofty flight be mine;
I would not soar like thee, in loneliness to pine!