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What is this world's delight? Lightning that mocks the night, Brief even as bright.
Virtue, how frail it is! Friendship how rare! Love, how it sells poor bliss For proud despair!
But we, though soon they fall, Survive their joy, and all
Which ours we call.
Whilst skies are blue and bright, Whilst flowers are gay, Whilst eyes that change ere night Make glad the day; Whilst yet the calm hours creep, Dream thou-and from thy sleep Then wake to weep.
LINES WRITTEN ON HEARING THE NEWS OF THE DEATH OF NAPOLEON
WHAT! alive and so bold, oh earth?
Art thou not overbold?
What! leapest thou forth as of old In the light of thy morning mirth, The last of the flock of the starry fold? Ha! leapest thou forth as of old? Are not the limbs still when the ghost is fled,
And canst thou move, Napoleon being dead?
How! is not thy quick heart cold?
What spark is alive on thy hearth? How! is not his death-knell knolled?
And livest thou still, Mother Earth? Thou wert warming thy fingers old O'er the embers covered and cold
Of that most fiery spirit, when it fled--What, Mother, do you laugh now he is
As to oblivion their blind millions fleet, "Who has known me of old," replied Staining that Heaven with obscene
Of their own likeness.
By force or custom? would be,
Trembling at that where I had stood
Man who man When will return the glory of your prime?
Must rule the empire of himself; in it Must be supreme, establishing his throne On vanquished will, quelling the anarchy Of hopes and fears, being himself alone.
Out of the day and night
Fresh spring, and summer, and winter
Move my faint heart with grief, but with delight
No more--Oh, never more!
SWIFTER far than summer's flight-Swifter far than youth's delight-Swifter far than happy night,
Art thou come and goneAs the earth when leaves are dead, As the heart when joy is fled, As the night when sleep is sped,
I am left lone, alone.
The swallow summer comes again-
To fly with thee, false as thou. —
Lilies for a bridal bed-
Pansies let my flowers be:
Waste one hope, one fear for me.
TO EDWARD WILLIAMS
THE serpent is shut out from paradise.
If it meant, but I dread
To speak what you may know too well :
Of hatred I am proud,-with scorn con- Still there was truth in the sad oracle.
Indifference, that once hurt me,
But, not to speak of love, pity alone Can break a spirit already more than bent.
The miserable one
Turns the mind's poison into food,— Its medicine is tears,-its evil good.
Therefore, if now I see you seldomer, Dear friends, dear friend! know that I only fly
Your looks, because they stir
The crane o'er seas and forests seeks her home;
No bird so wild but has its quiet
When it no more would roam; The sleepless billows on the ocean's breast
Break like a bursting heart, and die in foam,
And thus at length find rest. Doubtless there is a place of peace Where my weak heart and all its throbs will cease.
Griefs that should sleep, and hopes I asked her, yesterday, if she believed
that cannot die:
The very comfort that they minister
I scarce can bear, yet I,
So deeply is the arrow gone,
Should quickly perish if it were with
When I return to my cold home, you ask
Of wearing on my brow the idle mask Of author, great or mean,
In the world's carnival. I sought Peace thus, and but in you I found it
That I had resolution. One who
Would ne'er have thus relieved His heart with words,-but what
his judgment bade
Would do, and leave the scorner unrelieved.
These verses are too sad
To send to you, but that I know, Happy yourself, you feel another's woe.
ONE word is too often profaned