On Trying in Vain to Read.

Hence, thoughts! I vainly strive to steep1
In cold Oblivion’s balm by reading,2
For weak and wayward fancies keep3
Attention dead and Memory bleeding!4
I gain not, all I seek, relief,5
Roaming through Fiction’s noblest pages,6
But find them still recall my grief,7
Scott, Horace, India’s sages.8
When from the aërial island hurl’d9
From more than soul’s and senses’ pleasures,10
The eastern prince regain’d the world,11
Enrich’d by Memory’s painful treasures,12
Could present joys supply the past?13
Could Earth’s most lovely sounds and flowers14
Obliterate what flew so fast15
Those unforgotten hours?16
And can the busy race which roars17
Through London’s maze of marble wonders,18
Where shine or roll, as Genius soars,19
Poetic beams or patriot thunders,20
Supply the unstudied sense and grace,21
The Paradise, so fair and fleeting,22
So far beyond this gorgeous place23
The daily chance of meeting?24
When pledged by Charles’s cheering host25
Glenlivet’s liquid diamonds quiver’d,26
Each glass ne’er held a humbler toast,27
Devoutly kiss’d—and quaff’d—and shiver’d:28
So let the heart whose core contain’d29
Vows fondly felt though faintly spoken,30
Since Hope’s inspiring draught is drain’d,31
Be, like those goblets—broken.32
When Rome believed the forked stroke33
Was wing’d by Jove’s offended power,34
Smitten from Heaven the blasted oak,35
Revived no more by gleam and shower,36
And Spring’s soft breath and Morning’s dew,37
Remain’d still leafless, lone, and wasted :38
And thus the pining heart must rue39
Heaven’s fire too rashly tasted.40
As, withering o’er the verdant sod,41
Those branches, scorch’d by Heaven’s great Sire,42
Ne’er blazed for some inferior God,43
The Heart disdains all earthlier fire;44
Since prayers repell’d by lines so stern45
And grief by sterner silence slighted46
Are bolts that leave the breast they burn,47
Like Rome’s Bidental—blighted.48