BETA

III.

BALLAD.†

If ever my wild spirit burns1
Ungovernably bright,2
And every human trammel spurns3
As summer breezes light,4
Laughs at the hollow herd it scorns,5
And revels in its might6

† Suggested while swimming in Bantry Bay, Ireland.
It is when casting off in mirth7
The garments of a man’s shame8
Standing a moment on the earth9
As debtless and the same10
As when I owed her at my birth,11
Not even that sound, my name12
I spring forth from her rocky side13
Into the moaning sea ;14
That crash and clash of waters wide15
Is music unto me !16
How the bold billows that I ride17
Career it gallantly !18
And how my buoyant senses bound19
To feel themselves abroad20
Upon the waves that roll around21
The mountain thrones of God,22
’Mid surges that in thunder sound23
Beneath his tempest rod !24
O could I stem the worlds dark wave25
As fearlessly and free26
As thus my watery way I cleave !27
But it may never be28
Then give me back the billows brave !29
Their wings of foam for me !30