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What is the worst of woes that wait on age? What stamps the wrinkle deeper on the brow? To view each loved one blotted from life's page, And be alone on earth, as I am now. Before the Chastener humbly let me bow, O'er hearts divided and o'er hopes destroyed: Roll on, vain days! full reckless may ye flow, Since time hath reft whate'er my soul enjoyed, And with the ills of Eld mine earlier years alloyed.
Is thy face like thy mother's, my fair child!
Awaking with a start,
Once more upon the waters! yet once more!
v Swift be their guidance, wheresoe'er it lead I
Wkere'cr the surge may sweep, the tempest's breath prevait.
In my youth's summer I did sing of One, The wandering outlaw of his own dark mind; Again I seize the theme then but begun, And bear it with me, as the rushing wind Bears the cloud onwards : in that Tale I find The furrows of long thought, and dried-up tears, Which, ebbing, leave a sterile track behind, O'er which all heavily the journeying years Plod the last sands of life,—where not a flower appears.
Since my young days of passion—joy, or pain, - Perchance my heart and harp have,lost a string,
And both may jar : it may be, that in vain
I would essay as I have sung to sing.
Yet, though a dreary strain, to this I cling;
So that it wean me from the weary dream
Of selfish grief or gladness—so it fling
Forgetfulness around me—it shall seem
He, who grown aged in this world of woe, In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life, So that no wander waits him ; nor below Can love, or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife, Cut to his heart again with the keen knife Of silent, sharp endurance : he can tell . Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife With airy images, and shapes which dwell Still unimpair'd, though old, iu the soul's haunted cell.
'Tis to create, and in creating live A being more intense, that we endow With form our fancy, gaming as we give The life we image, even as I do now. What am I? Nothing; but not so art thou, Soul of my thought! with whom I traverse earth, Invisible but gazing, as I glow Mix'd with thy spirit, blended with thy birth, And feeling still with thee in my crush'd feelings' dearth.
Yet must I think less wildly': I have thought
Something too much of this :—but now 'tis past, And the spell closes with its silent seal. Long absent Hakold re-appears at last; He of the breast which fain no more would feel, Wrung with the wounds which kill not, but ne'er heal; Yet Time, who changes all, had altered him In soul and aspect as in age : years steal Fire from the mind as vigour from the limb; And life's enchanted cup but sparkles near the brim.
His had been quaff'd too quickly, and he found The dregs were wormwood; but he fill'd again, And from a purer fount, on holier ground, And deem'd its spring perpetual; but in vain! Still round him clung invisibly a chain Which gall'd for ever, fettering though unseen, And heavy though it clank'd not; worn with pain, Which pined although it spoke not, and grew keen, Entering with every step, he took, through many a scene.
Secure in guarded coldness, he had mix'd Again in fancied safety with his kind, And deem'd his spirit now so firmly fix'd, And sheath'd with an invulnerable mind, Th;it, if no joy, no sorrow lurk'd behind; And he, ;is one, might midst the many stand Unheeded, searching through the crowd to find Fit speculation! such as in strauge land He found in wonder-works of God and Nature's baud.
But who can view the ripened rose, nor seek To wear it? who can curiously behold The smoothness and the sheen of beauty's cheek, Nor feel the heart can never all grow old? Who can contemplate Fame through clouds unfold The star which rises o'er her steep, nor climb! Harold, once more within the vortex, roll'd On with the giddy circle, chasing Time, Yet with a nobler aim than in his youth's fond prime.