Dreams poems/ page 8 of 232 /
THE FIRST BOOK (excerpts) The steep where Fame's proud temple shines afar! Ah! who can tell how many a soul sublime Hath felt the influence of malignant star, And wag'd with Fortune an eternal war! Check'd by the scoff of Pride, by Envy's frown, And Poverty's unconquerable bar, In life's low vale remote hath pin'd aloneThen dropt into the grave, unpitied and unknown!
And yet, the languor of inglorious days Not equally oppressive is to all
The Jackdaw sat on the Cardinal's chair! Bishop, and abbot, and prior were there; Many a monk, and many a friar, Many a knight, and many a squire,With a great many more of lesser degree,--In sooth a goodly company;And they served the Lord Primate on bended knee
Thou, heedless Albion, what, alas, the while Dost thou presume? O inexpert in arms, Yet vain of freedom, how dost thou beguile, With dreams of hope, these near and loud alarms? Thy splendid home, thy plan of laws renown'd, The praise and envy of the nations round, What care hast thou to guard from fortune's sway? Amid the storms of war, how soon may all The lofty pile from its foundations fall,Of ages the proud toil, the ruin of a day!
No: thou art rich, thy streams and fertile vales Add industry's wise gifts to nature's store: And every port is crowded with thy sails, And every wave throws treasure on thy shore
The last hollyhock's fallen tower is dust;
All the spices of June are a bitter reek,
All the extravagant riches spent and mean.
All burns! The reddest rose is a ghost;
Sparks whirl up, to expire in the mist: the wild
Fingers of fire are making corruption clean.
"I went through the world, but I paused not now
At the gladsome heart and the joyous brow:
I went through the world, and I stay'd to mark
Where the heart was sore, and the spirit dark:
And the grief of others, though sad to see,
Was fraught with a demon's joy to me!