Succeeding years, too wild for song,|
Then rolled like tropic storms along,
Where, through the garish lights that fly
Dying along the troubled sky,
Lay bare, through vistas thunder-riven,
The blackness of the general Heaven,
That very blackness yet doth Ring
Light on the lightning’s silver wing.
For being an idle boy lang syne;
Who read Anacreon and drank wine,
I early found Anacreon rhymes
Were almost passionate sometimes—
And by strange alchemy of brain
His pleasures always turned to pain—
His naiveté to wild desire—
His wit to love—his wine to fire—
And so, being young and dipt in folly,
I fell in love with melancholy,
And used to throw my earthly rest
And quiet all away in jest—
I could not love except where Death
Was mingling his with Beauty’s breath—
Or Hymen, Time, and Destiny,
Were stalking between her and me.
. . . . .
But now my soul hath too much room—
Gone are the glory and the gloom—
The black hath mellow’d into gray,
And all the fires are fading away.
My draught of passion hath been deep—
I revell’d, and I now would sleep
And after drunkenness of soul
Succeeds the glories of the bowl
An idle longing night and day
To dream my very life away.
But dreams—of those who dream as I,
Aspiringly, are damned, and die:
Yet should I swear I mean alone,
By notes so very shrilly blown,
To break upon Time’s monotone,
While yet my vapid joy and grief
Are tintless of the yellow leaf—
Why not an imp the graybeard hath,
Will shake his shadow in my path—
And e’en the graybeard will o’erlook
Connivingly my dreaming-book.