A Farewell to the Muse

Not in envy, ire, or grief
Bid I now the Muse farewell;
'T is no childish fancy brief,
Lured away by newer spell;
As of earthly good the chief,
I have sought her long and well.

Not in anger;—inward joys
Have been mine, and meed of praise,—
Payment vast for idle toys,
Fleeting, unsubstantial lays;
Sandy columns wind destroys,
And that wind again can raise.

No,—nor yet in grief we part—
Never unto bard like me,
Gave the Muse a broken heart;
'T is to nobler votaries, she
Doth that awful gift impart—
Pledge of immortality!

Not in envy;—though around
Like the stars, a radiant throng,
In their several orbits found,
I behold the sons of song,—
Every brow with laurel bound,
And a few as giants strong.

Not in envy;—though I know
Neither wreath nor radiance mine;
I will yet pay homage low
Pilgrim-like, at every shrine;
Seek where buds and blossoms grow,
And for others garlands twine.

Never hath my Muse bereaved me,
Song hath lightened hours of pain;
Never Poet yet deceived me,
Truer friend I scarce could gain;
Ne'er among the things that grieved me,
Ranked the minstrel lute and strain.

Yet I bid the art adieu,
It may be, adieu for ever;
I abjure the syren too,
Vain, I own, my best endeavour;
Weak to grasp, though keen to view
Climbing alway—rising never.

Though I smite the rock of song,
At my stroke no stream will flow,—
At my spell no spirits strong
Bidden come, or mastered go;
Nor the world of passion throng
With its wild waves to and fro.

Farewell Muse!—vouchsafing never
But dim glance and veiled brow;
Farewell Lute!—a rude toy ever,
Broken, stringless, soon art thou;
Farewell Song!—thy last notes quiver,—
Muse,—Lute,—Music,—farewell now!

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