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How long I sail'd, and never took a thought
To what port I was bound! Secure as sleep,
I dwelt upon the bosom of the deep
And perilous sea. And though my ship was fraught
With rare and precious fancies, jewels brought
From fairy-land, no course I cared to keep,
Nor changeful wind nor tide I heeded ought,
But joy’d to feel the merry billows leap,
And watch the sun beams dallying with the waves ;
Or haply dream what realms beneath may lie
Where the clear ocean is an emerald sky,
And mermaids warble in their coral caves,
Yet vainly woo me to their secret home;
And sweet it were for ever so to roam.
Once I was young, and fancy was my all,
My love, my joy, my grief, my hope, my fear,
And ever ready as an infant's tear,
Whate’er in Fancy's kingdom might befal,
Some quaint device had Fancy still at call,
With seemly verse to greet the coming cheer;
Such grief to soothe, such airy hope to rear,
To sing the birth-song, or the funeral,
Of such light love, it was a pleasant task;
But ill accord the quirks of wayward glee,
That wears affliction for a wanton mask,
With woes that bear not Fancy's livery;
With Hope that scorns of Fate its fate to ask,
But is itself its own sure destiny.
Too true it is, my time of power was spent In idly watering weeds of casual growth,That wasted energy to desperate sloth Declined, and fond self-seeking discontent,That the huge debt for all that nature lent I sought to cancel,—and was nothing loath To deem myself an outlaw, sever'd both From duty and from hope, yea, blindly sent Without an errand, where I would to stray :Too true it is, that, knowing now my state, I weakly mourn the sin I ought to hate, Nor love the law I yet would fain obey : But true it is, above all law and fate Is Faith, abiding the appointed day.
OF THE CORPSE OF NAPOLEON LYING IN STATE.
Lo! there he lies. Is Death no more than this?
Is this the worst that mighty mortal can
Inflict upon his fellow ? Could the man-
The strongest arm of angry Nemesis,-
The rod that routed hosts were fain to kiss,
Whom failing Faith afar with terror eyed,
And Atheism madly deified-
Could he with all his wars and policies
Effect but this ? To antedate a year
That cold unfeeling calm, that even now
Blanks the dark meaning of that deep-lined brow,
And from the loose lip half uncurls the sneer?
If such be Death, O man, then what art thou,
That for the fear of Death would'st live in fear?
There have been poets that in verse display
The elemental forms of human passions :
Poets have been, to whom the fickle fashions
And all the wilful humours of the day
Have furnish'd matter for a polish'd lay:
And many are the smooth elaborate tribe
Who, emulous of thee, the shape describe,
And fain would every shifting hue pourtray
Of restless Nature. But, thou mighty Seer!
T'is thine to celebrate the thoughts that make
The life of souls, the truths for whose sweet sake
We to ourselves and to our God are dear.
Of Nature's inner shrine thou art the priest,
Where most she works when we perceive her least.