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Reader, attend—whether thy soul
Soars fancy's flights beyond the pole,
Or darkling grubs this earthly hole,

In low pursuit;
Know, prudent, cautious self-control

Is wisdom's root.

Robert Burns

243

ON COMPLETING HIS THIRTY-SIXTH

YEAR

'TIS

to move:

IS time this heart should be unmoved,

Since others it hath ceased
Yet, though I cannot be beloved,

Still let me love!

My days are in the yellow leaf;

The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
The worm, the canker, and the grief

Are mine alone!

The fire that on my bosom preys

Is lone as some volcanic isle;
No torch is kindled at its blaze-

A funeral pile.

The hope, the fear, the jealous care,

The exalted portion of the pain
And power of love, I cannot share,

But wear the chain.

But 'tis not thusand 'tis not here

Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Where glory decks the hero's bier,

Or binds his brow.

The sword, the banner, and the field,

Glory and Greece, around me see!
The Spartan, borne upon his shield,

Was not more free.

Awake! (not Greece-she is awake!)

Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake,

And then strike home!

Tread those reviving passions down,

Unworthy manhood!—unto thee
Indifferent should the smile or frown

Of beauty be.

If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?

The land of honorable death
Is here:-up to the field, and give

Away thy breath!

Seek out—less often sought than found

A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
Then look around, and choose thy ground,
And take thy rest.

Lord Byron

244 ON HIS HAVING ARRIVED AT THE AGE

OF TWENTY-THREE

How

!

OW soon hath Time, the subtle thief of youth,

Stol'n on his wing my three-and-twentieth year! My hasting days fly on with full career, But my late spring no bud or blossom show'th. Perhaps my semblance might deceive the truth

That I to manhood am arrived so near;
And inward ripeness doth much less appear,

That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
Yet be it less* or more, or soon or slow,

It shall be still in strictest measure even

To that same lot, however mean or high,
Toward which Time leads me, and the will of Heaven;

All is, if I have grace to use it so,
As ever in my great Task-Master's eye.

John Milton

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245

CYR

, ,

YRIACK, this three-years-day these eyes, though clear,

To outward view, of blemish or of spot, Bereft of light, their seeing have forgot; Nor to their idle orbs doth sight appear Of sun, or moon, or star, throughout the year, Or man, or woman. Yet I argue not Against Heaven's hand or will, nor bate a jot Of heart or hope, but still bear up and steer Right onward. What supports me, dost thou ask? The conscience, friend, to have lost them overplied In Liberty's defense, my noble task, Of which all Europe rings from side to side. This thought might lead me through the world's vain mask, Content though blind, had I no better guide.

John Milton

246

WORLDLY PLACE

EVEN

"VEN in a palace, life may be led well!

So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Marcus Aurelius. But the stilling den
Of common life, where, crowded up pell-mell,

a

Our freedom for a little bread we sell,
And drudge under some foolish master's ken
Who rates us if we peer outside our pen-
Matched with a palace, is not this a hell?
Even in a palace! On his truth sincere,
Who spoke these words, no shadow ever came;
And when my ill-schooled spirit is aflame
Some nobler, ampler stage of life to win,
I'll stop, and

say:
“There

succor here! The aids to noble life are all within.” 1

Matthew Arnold

were no

247

TIR

SIRED with all these, for restful death I cry

As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And needy nothing trimmed in jollity,

And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And gilded honor shamefully misplaced,

And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And right perfection wrongfully disgraced,

And strength by limping sway disabled,
And art made tongue-tied by authority,

And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And simple truth miscalled simplicity,

And captive Good attending captain 111:-
-Tired with all these, from these would I be gone,
Save that, to die, I leave my Love alone.

William Shakespeare 248

1 A translation of the passage which inspired this sonnet may be seen in Prose, p. 445.

SAY

AY not, the struggle naught availeth,

The labor and the wounds are vain,
The enemy faints not, nor faileth,

And as things have been they remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars;

It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
Your comrades chase e'en now the fliers,

And, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking,

Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Far back, through creeks and inlets making,

Comes silent, flooding in, the main.

And not by eastern windows only,

When daylight comes, comes in the light,
In front, the sun climbs slow, how slowly,
But westward, look, the land is bright.

Arthur Hugh Clough

249

THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS 1
HIS is the ship of pearl, which, poets feign,
Sails the unshadowed main,-
The venturous bark that flings

THIS

1 The poem appears in The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table, where it is hus introduced: Did I not say to you a little while ago that the aniverse swam in an ocean of similitudes and analogies? I will not luote Cowley, or Burns, or Wordsworth, just now, to show you what houghts were suggested to them by the simplest natural object, such as

flower or a leaf; but I will read you a few lines, if you do not object, suggested by looking at a section of one of those chambered hells to which is given the name of Pearly Nautilus. If

you

will ook into Roget's Bridgewater Treatise, you will find a figure of one

f these shells, and a section of it. The last will show you the series f enlarging compartments successively dwelt in by the animal that nhabits the shell, which is built in a widening spiral. Can you find no esson in this?

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