To Southey

There are who teach us that the depths of thought
Engulph the poet; that irregular
Is every greater one. Go, Southey! mount
Up to these teachers; ask, submissively,
Who so proportioned as the lord of day?
Yet mortals see his stedfast stately course
And lower their eyes before him. Fools gaze up
Amazed at daring flights. Does Homer soar
As hawks and kites and weaker swallows do?
He knows the swineherd; he plants apple-trees
Amid Alcinous's cypresses;
He covers with his aged black-vein'd hand
The plumy crest that frighten'd and made cling
To its fond-mother the ill-fated child;
He walks along Olympus with the Gods,
Complacently and calmly, as along
The sands where Simois glides into the sea.
They who step high and swing their arms, soon tire.
The glorious Theban then?
The sage from Thebes,
The sage from Thebes,
Who sang his wisdom when the strife of cars
And combatants had paus'd, deserves more praise
Than this untrue one, fitter for the weak,
Who by the lightest breezes are borne up
And with the dust and straws are swept away;
Who fancy they are carried far aloft
When nothing quite distinctly they descry,
Having lost all self-guidance. But strong men
Are strongest with their feet upon the ground.
Light-bodied Fancy, Fancy plover-winged,
Draws some away from culture to dry downs
Where none but insects find their nutriment;
There let us leave them to their sleep and dreams.
Great is that poet, great is he alone,
Who rises o'er the creatures of the earth,
Yet only where his eye may well discern
The various movements of the human heart,
And how each mortal differs from the rest.
Although he struggle hard with Poverty.
He dares assert his just prerogative
To stand above all perishable things,
Proclaiming this shall live, and this shall die.
Rate this poem: 


No reviews yet.