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Reader, attend—whether thy soul
In low pursuit;
Is wisdom's root.
ON COMPLETING HIS THIRTY-SIXTH
IS time this heart should be unmoved,
Since others it hath ceased
Still let me love!
My days are in the yellow leaf;
The flowers and fruits of love are gone;
Are mine alone!
The fire that on my bosom preys
Is lone as some volcanic isle;
A funeral pile.
The hope, the fear, the jealous care,
The exalted portion of the pain
But wear the chain.
But 'tis not thus—and 'tis not here
Such thoughts should shake my soul, nor now,
Or binds his brow.
The sword, the banner, and the field,
Glory and Greece, around me see!
Was not more free.
Awake! (not Greece-she is awake!)
Awake, my spirit! Think through whom
And then strike home!
Tread those reviving passions down,
Unworthy manhood!—unto thee
Of beauty be.
If thou regrett'st thy youth, why live?
The land of honorable death
Away thy breath!
Seek out—less often sought than found
A soldier's grave, for thee the best;
244 ON HIS HAVING ARRIVED AT THE AGE
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;
That some more timely-happy spirits endu'th.
It shall be still in strictest measure even
To that same lot, however mean or high,
All is, if I have grace to use it so,
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.
"VEN in a palace, life may be led well!
So spake the imperial sage, purest of men,
Our freedom for a little bread we sell,
succor here! The aids to noble life are all within.” 1
SIRED with all these, for restful death I cry
As, to behold desert a beggar born,
And purest faith unhappily forsworn,
And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted,
And strength by limping sway disabled,
And folly, doctor-like, controlling skill,
And captive Good attending captain 111:-
William Shakespeare 248
1 A translation of the passage which inspired this sonnet may be seen in Prose, p. 445.
AY not, the struggle naught availeth,
The labor and the wounds are vain,
And as things have been they remain.
It may be, in yon smoke concealed,
And, but for you, possess the field.
Seem here no painful inch to gain,
Comes silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only,
When daylight comes, comes in the light,
Arthur Hugh Clough
THE CHAMBERED NAUTILUS 1
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
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?”