BETA

Extract From My Great Auto-Biographical Poem.

It is most veritable,—that sage law1
Which tells that, at the wane of mightiness,2
Yea even of colossal guilt, or power3
That, like the iron man by poets feign’d,4
Can with uplifted arm draw from above5
The ministering lightnings, all insensible6
To touch of other feeling, we do find7
That which our hearts have cherish’d but as fear,8
Is mingled still with love ; and we must weep9
The very loss of that which caus’d our tears.—10
Ev’n so it happeneth when Donnelly dies.11
Cheeks are besullied with unused brine,12
And eyes disguis’d in tumid wretchedness,13
That oft have put such seeming on for him,14
But not at Pity’s bidding !— Yea, even I,15
Albeit, who never “ ruffian’d” in the ring,16
Nor know of “ challenge,” save the echoing hills ;17
Nor fibbing,” save that poesy doth feign ;18
Nor heard his fame, but as the mutterings19
Of clouds contentious on Helvellyn’s side,20
Distant, yet deep, agnize a strange regret,21
And mourn Donnelly—Honourable Sir Daniel :—22
(Blessings be on them, and eternal praise,23
The Knighter and the Knighted.)—Love doth dwell24
Here in these solitudes, and our corporal clay25
Doth for its season bear the self-same fire,26
Impregnate with the same humanities,27
Moulded and mixed like others.28
I remember,29
Once on a time,—’twas when I was a boy,30
For I was childish once, and often since31
Have, with a cheerful resignation, learnt32
How soon the boy doth prophecy the man,—33
I chanced, with one whom I could never love,34
Yet seldom left, to thread a thorny wood,35
To seek the stock-doves’ sacred domicile ;—36
Like thieves, we did contend about our crime,37
I and that young companion. Of that child38
His brief coevals still stood in awe,39
And Fear did do him menial offices,40
While Silence walk’d beside, and word breath’d none.41
Howbeit, mine arm, which oft in vassal wise42
Had borne his satchel, and but ill defended43
From buffets, half in sport, half tyrannous44
With which I was reguerdon’d,—chanced prevail.45
His soul was then subdued, and much and sore46
He wept, convulsive ; nay, his firm breast heav’d,47
As doth the bosom of the troublous lake48
After the whirlwind goeth ; and so sad49
Did seem the ruins of his very pride,50
I could not choose but weep with him, so long51
We sobb’d together, till a smile ’gan dry52
The human rain, and he once more was calm ;—53
For sorrow, like all else, hath end. Albeit,54
Those tears, however boyish, were more fit,55
Since nature’s self did draw them from their source,56
Than aught that cunning’st poet can distil57
By potent alchemy, from human eye,58
To consecrate Donnelly’s grave. Even so ;59
For they discours’d with a dumb eloquence, 60
Beyond the tongue of dirge or epitaph,61
Of that which passeth in man’s heart, when Power,62
Like Babylon, hath fall’n, and pass’d away.63