The Imp Within

" Rouse now, my dullard, and thy wits awake;
'Tis first of the morning. And I bid thee make —
No, not a vow; we have munched our fill of these
From crock of bone-dry crusts and mouse-gnawn cheese —
Nay, just one whisper in that long, long ear —
Awake; rejoice. Another Day is here: —

" A virgin wilderness, which, hour by hour,
Mere happy idleness shall bring to flower.
Barren and arid though its sands now seem,
Wherein oasis becks not, shines no stream,
Yet wake — and lo, 'tis lovelier than a dream.

" Plunge on, thy every footprint shall make fair
Its thirsty waste; and thy foregone despair
Undarken into sweet birds in the air,
Whose coursing wings and love-crazed summoning cries
Into infinity shall attract thine eyes.

" No ...? Well, lest promise in performance faint,
A less inviting prospect will I paint.
I bid thee adjure thy Yesterday, and say:
" As thou wast, Enemy, so be To-day. —
Immure me in the same close narrow room;
Be hated toil the lamp to light its gloom;
Make stubborn my pen; sift dust into my ink;
Forbid mine eyes to see, my brain to think.
Scare off the words whereon the mind is set.
Make memory the power to forget.
Constrain imagination; bind its wing;
Forbid the unseen Enchantresses to sing.
Ay, do thy worst!"
" Vexed Spectre, prythee smile.
Even though that yesterday was bleak and sour,
Art thou a slave beneath its thong to cower?
Thou hast survived. And hither am I — again,
Kindling with mockery thy o'erlaboured brain.
Though scant the moments be wherein we meet,
Think, what dark months would even one make sweet.

" Thy quill? Thy paper? Ah, my dear, be true.
Come quick To-morrow. Until then, Adieu. "
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