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The hour that terminates his span,
His folly and his woe!
Worlds should not bribe me back to tread
Again life's dreary waste;
To see again my day o'erspread
With all the gloomy past.
My home henceforth is in the skies,
Earth, seas, and sun adieu!
All heaven unfolded to my eyes,
I have no sight for you.
So speaks the Christian, firm possessed
Of faith's supporting rod;
Then breathes his soul into its rest,
The bosom of his God.
Take one example; to our purpose quite,
A man of rank, and a capacious soul;
Who riches had, and fame beyond desire:
An heir of flattery, to titles born,
And reputation, and luxurious life.
Yet not content with ancestorial name;
Or to be known, because his fathers were;
He on this height hereditary stood,
And gazing higher, purposed in his heart
To take another step. Above him seemed
Alone the mount of song-the lofty seat
Of canonized bards; and thitherward,
By nature taught, and inward melody,
In prime of youth, he bent his eagle eye.
No cost was spared. What books he wished, he read :
What sage to hear, he heard; what scenes to see,
And first in school-boy days, M
Britannia's mountain-walks, and heath-girt lakes,
And story-telling glens, and founts, and brooks,
And meads, as dew-drops pure and fair, his soul
With grandeur filled, and melody, and love.
Then travel came,
and took him where he wished.
He cities saw, and courts, and princely pomp ;
And mused alone on ancient mountain brows,
And mused on battle-fields, where valour fought
In other days; and mused on ruins gray
years and drank from old and fabulous wells; And plucked the vine that first-born prophets plucked: And mused on famous tombs, and on the wave
Of ocean mused; and on the desert waste.
The heavens and earth of every country saw ;
Where'er the old inspiring genii dwelt,
Aught that could rouse, expand, refine the soul,
Thither he went, and meditated there.
He touched his harp, and nations heard, entranced.
As some vast river of unfailing source,
Rapid, exhaustless, deep, his numbers flowed,
And oped new fountains in the human heart.
Where fancy halted, weary in her flight,
In other men, his fresh as morning rose,
And soared untrodden heights, and seemed at home
Where angels bashful looked. Others, tho' great,
Beneath their argument seemed struggling whiles;
He from above descending, stooped to touch
The loftiest thought; and proudly stooped, as the
It scarce deserved his verse. With Nature's self
He seemed an old acquaintance, free to jest
At will with all her glorious majesty.
He laid his hand upon the ocean's mane,'
And played familiar with his hoary locks.
Stood on the Alps, stood on the Apennines,
And with the thunder talked, as friend to friend;
And wove his garland of the lightning's wing,
In sportive twist-the lightning's fiery wing,..
Which as the footsteps of the dreadful God,
Marching upon the storm in vengeance seemed
Then turned, and with the grasshopper, who sung
His evening song, beneath his feet, conversed.
Suns, moons, and stars, and clouds his sisters were;
Rocks, mountains, meteors, seas, winds, and storms,
His brothers younger brothers, whom he scarce
As equals deemed. All passions of all men
The wild and tame the gentle and severe ;
All thoughts, all maxims, sacred and profane;
All creeds; all seasons, Time, Eternity;
All that was hated, and all that was dear;
All that was hoped, all that was feared by man,
He tossed about, as tempest, withered leaves,
Then smiling looked upon the wreck he made.
With terror now he froze the cowering blood ;
And now dissolved the heart in tenderness :
Yet would not tremble, would not weep himself,
But back into his soul retired, alone,
Dark, sullen, proud; gazing contemptuously
On hearts and passions prostrate at his feet.
So ocean from the plains, his waves had late
To desolation swept, retired in pride,
Exulting in the glory of his might,
And seemed to mock the ruin he had wrought.
As some fierce comet of tremendous size,
To which the stars did reverence, as it passed;
So he through learning, and through fancy took
His flight sublime; and on the loftiest top
Of fame's dread mountain sat, not soiled and worn,
As if he from the earth had laboured up;
But as some bird of heavenly plumage fair,
He looked, which down from higher regions came,
And perched it there to see what lay beneath.
The nations gazed, and wondered much, and praised.
Critics before him fell in humble plight;
Confounded fell; and made debasing signs
To catch his eye; and stretched, and swelled themselves To bursting nigh, to utter bulky words
Of admiration vast; and many too,
Many that aimed to imitate his flight,
With weaker wing, unearthly fluttering made, sport to after days.
And gave abundant
Great man! the nations gazed, and wondered much, And praised and many called his evil good. Wits wrote in favour of his wickedness';
And kings to do him honour took delight.
Thus full of titles, flattery, honour, fame,
Beyond desire, beyond ambition full-
He died he died of what? Of wretchedness.
Drank every cup of joy, heard every trump
Of fame; drank early, deeply drank, drank draughts
That common millions might have quenched-then died