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The Mayfly is torn by the swallow, the sparrow

spear'd by the shrike,

And the whole little wood where I sit is a world of

plunder and prey.

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We are puppets, Man in his pride, and Beauty fair in her flower;

Do we move ourselves, or are moved by an unseen hand at a game

That pushes us off from the board, and others ever


Ah yet, we cannot be kind to each other here for an


We whisper, and hint, and chuckle, and grin at a brother's shame;

However we brave it out, we men are a little



A monstrous eft was of old the Lord and Master of


For him did his high sun flame, and his river billowing ran,

And he felt himself in his force to be Nature's

crowning race.

As nine months go to the shaping an infant ripe for his birth,

So many a million of ages have gone to the making of man:

He now is first, but is he the last? is he not too



The man of science himself is fonder of glory, and


An eye well-practised in nature, a spirit bounded and poor ;

were more

The passionate heart of the poet is whirl'd into folly

and vice.

I would not marvel at either, but keep a temperate


For not to desire or admire, if a man could learn it,

Than to walk all day like the sultan of old in a garden of spice.


For the drift of the Maker is dark, an Isis hid by

the veil.

Who knows the ways of the world, how God will bring them about?

Our planet is one, the suns are many, the world is wide.

Shall I weep if a Poland fall? shall I shriek if a Hungary fail?

Or an infant civilization be ruled with rod or with


I have not made the world, and He that made it

will guide.


Be mine a philosopher's life in the quiet woodland


Where if I cannot be gay let a passionless peace be my lot,

Far off from the clamor of liars belied in the hubbub of lies;

From the long-neck'd geese of the world that are ever hissing dispraise

Because their natures are little, and, whether he heed it or not,

Where each man walks with his head in a cloud of poisonous flies.


And most of all would I flee from the cruel madness

of love,

The honey of poison-flowers and all the measureless


Ah Maud, you milk-white fawn, you are all unmeet for a wife.

Your mother is mute in her grave as her image in marble above;

Your father is ever in London, you wander about at your will;

You have but fed on the roses, and lain in the lilies of life.

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