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Poet, why, through distance gazing,
Why so rapt and sad ?
Why thine eye above thee raising
When the earth is glad ?
Why thy brow o'ercast with thought-
Why thy bosom heaving-
Why thy lip so proudly wrought,
Sadly, ever breathing,
“ Fame, famel-give me fame!”?
Far, into the æther straying,
Soars thy tearful gaze;
While the winds of earth are playing
Rudely o'er thy face:
Keenly felt their cruel sport;
Yet, unheedful seeming,
Thou some rainbow-hue hast caught,
And art fondly dreaming
Of fame |-brilliant fame !
Quick! or, else, 'twill mock thy tracing :
Transient as a breath
Is the hope thou art embracing,
Hurrying to death
Seldom lingering to give
To the bosom, burning
For a name that still may live,
Guerdon for its yearning-
Fame, fame 1-faithless fame!
Thou king of vanity! thou gaudy slave l-
Amongst the fever'd dreams of fleeting life,
Like a vain phantasy, thou glidest by,
Eluding still the grasp of waking sense ;
Or, if it seize thee, melting swiftly there,
Or burthening the soul with sullen cares
In tarrying !
But little can the Child Of Song tell of thy favours, 'midst his lot Of pain : but little recks he though thy frown May blight his mortal nature, so his soul Remain unpurchased and his proud glance free!
Thou canst not tempt him from his eagle flight
To futter, bat-like, o'er thy vulgar realms
For aught his own heart needs of boon from thee:
Its human love alone can chain it down
Amidst thy vot’ries; and his fetters then
Clink harshly o'er the plaintive song he pours !
Yet art thou lord of all the earth !-its kings
Are sceptred by thee, and its thrones oft made
Thine altars, whence oblations rise, whose fumes
Contending with the incense of the soul
(That, free, should rise to Deity alone)
Offend the Majesty that reigns on high
And call down anger from His mighty throne-
Sharp plagues, and blighted crops, and civil war,
And crime, and death, and mourning, and dismay,-
Till, panic-driven, thou must tribute pay
To the Supreme, who marks thy arrogance
And sends his mandate, bidding thee prepare
His will to do upon the woe-struck earth,
Neglected long amidst thy splendid cares,
Thy pageantries, and confident estate !
Too many bow alone to thy proud rule,
And see no grandeur but by thee bestow'd !-
The pure soul glows in vain in its own light,
Garb'd not in purple or in dainty lawn;
The eye may beam with the mind's fire sublime-
The brow ungemm’d, few gazers mark its ray;
The constant heart may suffer and be still,
May strive and love as none have done before,
May burn to prove its love and constancy,
Its truth, its courage, and its yearnings high,
And yet the meanest slave who wears thy chains
Shall win the meed for which it vainly toild !
But few endure the test applied by thee
To the soul's innate worth !-Men feel thy sway
O’er millions; on that they rest secure;
While, like a stagnant pool, their hearts sleep on,
Without one noble impulse, sluggard-like,
Drinking the glory of the light in vain !
Hail to the noble few who use thee well,
Thou wonder-working source of good and ill !--