+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Not much I reverence that remorse which flies
To desert caves, and bids its dupes despise
                          Themselves on whom it preys;
Wasting the worth of life on worthless pain,
To make the future, as the past was, vain,
                            By endless self-dispraise.

As tho', forsooth, because a man is not
His self-made god, he needs must curse his lot
                           With self-contempt! as tho'
Some squalid maniac, that with life-long moan
Insults man's flesh and blood, with these hath done
                           The best that man can do!

Nor am I keen to urge that common claim
On this world or anotherhere, for fame,
                            Which only grows on graves
Or there for so much, purchaseable here
By earth's joy stinted, of celestial cheer;
                            The stimulant of slaves.

Not for reward, not for release from pain,
But with a man's imperative disdain
                        Of all that wastes man's nature,
Rise, O my soul, and reach to loftier things,
Untrammell'd by this florid weed that clings,
                        Stunting a spirit's stature!

I was not born to sit with shrouded head,
Piping shrill ditties to the unburied dead,
                        While life's arm'd host sweeps by.
I hear the clarion call, the war-steed neigh,
The banner fluttering in the wind's free play,
                        The brave man's battle cry.

And I am conscious that, where all things strive,
'Tis shameful to sit still. I would not live
                         Content with a life lost
In chasing mine own fancies thro' void air,
Or decking forth in forms and phrases fair
                         The miserable ghost

Of personal joy or pain. The ages roll
Forward; and, forward with them, draw my soul
                         Into time's infinite sea.
And to be glad, or sad, I care no more;
But to have done, and to have been, before
                          I cease to do and be.

.From the minutest struggle to excel,
Of things whose momentary myriads dwell
                         In drops of dew confined,
To spirits standing on life's upmost stair,
Whose utterances alter worlds, and are
                        The makers of mankind,

All things cry shame on lips that squander speech
In words which, if not deeds, are worthless each.
                        Not here are such words wanted,
Where all bestirs itself, where dumb things do,
By nobly silent action, speak, and go
                        Forth to their fates undaunted.

Shame on the wretch who, born a man, forgoes
Man's troublous birthright for a brute's repose!
                       Shame on the eyes that see
This mighty universe, yet see not there
Something of difficult worth a man may dare
                       Bravely to do and be!

Yet is there nought for shame in anything
Once dear and beautiful. The shrivell'd wing,
                       Scathed by what seem'd a star,
And proved, alas! no star, but withering fire,
Is worthier than the wingless worm's desire
                       For nothing fair or far.

Rather the ground that's deep enough for graves,
Rather the stream that's strong enough for waves,
                      Than the loose sandy drift
Whose shifting surface cherishes no seed
Either of any flower or any weed,
                      Which ever way it shift,

Or stagnant shallow which the storms despise,
Nought finding there to prey upon, I prize.
                       Why should man's spirit shrink
From feeling to the utmostbe it pain
Or pleasureall 'twas form'd, nor form'd in vain,
                       To feel with force? I think

That never to have aim'd and miss'd is not
To have achieved. I hold the loftier lot
                        To ennoble, not escape,
Life's sorrows and love's pangs. I count a man,
Tho' sick to death, for something nobler than
                        A healthy dog or ape.

I deem that nothing suffer'd or enjoy'd
By a man's soul deserves to be destroy'd;
                       But rather to be made
Means of a soul's increased capacity
Either to suffer, and to gain thereby
                       A more exalted grade

  Among the spirits purified by pain;
  Or to enjoy, and thereby to attain
                       That lovelier influence
  Reserved for spirits that, 'mid the general moan
  Of human griefs, praise God with clearest tone
                       Of joyous trust intense.

And for this reason, I would yet keep fair
And fresh the memory of all things that were
                       Sweet in their place and season:
And I forgive my life its failures too,
Since failures old, to guide endeavours new,
                       I prize for the same reason.


MR. CHAFFINCHthe present writer
wonders how the scions of the penultimate
generation, solemn little prigs! addressed
their parents, solemn old prigs! when
they wanted to be taken out for a holiday?
Most probably they dared not ask for such
a favour at all; but if by any chance they
had managed to screw their courage to
the sticking- place, they would have said:
"Honoured sir, our studies having been
pursued with diligence and zeal, we would
regard it as a high token of our parent's
inestimable approbation, if he would
considerately consent to let us enjoy a little
relaxation, and would add to the zest of
that relaxation by sharing it with us."
When the eldest of Mr. Chaffinch's two
boys said to him this morning, "I say,
pup"—a fond abbreviation for papa
"take us somewhere to-day," and Mr.
Chaffinch replied, "All right; where shall
it be?" Mr. C. thought that the tone of
our social relations had on the whole
improved. Where should it be? The
party had "done" the Polytechnic and the
Zoological Gardens, had ridden donkeys
on Hampstead Heath, and swam boats in
the Highgate ponds; had elaborated a
plan for spending a happy day at Rosherville;
and, so far as Mr. Chaffinch could
see, had thus drained Pleasure's goblet to
the dregs. Mr. Chaffinch was compelled
to allow that his brain was barren of