Hearken! The end I aim at is not joy;
I crave excitement, agonizing bliss,
Enamor’d hatred, quickening vexation.
Purg’d from the love of knowledge, my vocation,
The scope of all my powers henceforth be this,
To bare my breast to every pang,—to know
In my heart’s core all human weal and woe,
To grasp in thought the lofty and the deep,
Men’s various fortunes on my breast to heap,
And thus to theirs dilate my individual mind,
And share at length with them the shipwreck of mankind.
Oh, credit me, who still as ages roll,
Have chew’d this bitter fare from year to year,
No mortal, from the cradle to the bier,
Digests the ancient leaven! Know, this Whole
Doth for the Deity alone subsist!
He in eternal brightness doth exist;
Us unto darkness he hath brought, and here,
Where day and night alternate, is your sphere.
But ’tis my will!
Well spoken, I admit!
But one thing puzzles me, my friend;
Time’s short, art long; methinks ’twere fit
That you to friendly counsel should attend.
A poet choose as your ally!
Let him thought’s wide dominion sweep,
Each good and noble quality
Upon your honored brow to heap;
The lion’s magnanimity,
The fleetness of the hind,
The fiery blood of Italy,
The Northern’s stedfast mind.
Let him to you the mystery show
To blend high aims and cunning low;
And while youth’s passions are aflame
To fall in love by rule and plan!
I fain would meet with such a man;
Would him Sir Microcosmus name.
What then am I, if I aspire in vain
The crown of our humanity to gain,
Toward which my every sense doth strain?
Thou’rt after all—just what thou
Put on thy head a wig with countless locks,
And to a cubit’s height upraise thy socks,
Still thou remainest ever, what thou art.
I feel it, I have heap’d upon my brain
The gather’d treasure of man’s thought in vain;
And when at length from studious toil I rest,
No power, new-born, springs up within my breast;
A hair’s breadth is not added to my height;
I am no nearer to the infinite.