(or a Consolation to Sick Poets
From thy moist lips,
O Time, thou witch, beslavering me,
Hour upon hour too slowly drips
In vain—I cry, in frenzy's fit,
"A curse upon that yawning pit,
A curse upon Eternity!"
The world's of brass,
A fiery bullock, deaf to wail:
Pain's dagger pierces my cuirass,
Wingéd, and writes upon my bone:
"Bowels and heart the world hath none,
Why scourge her sins with anger's flail?"
Pour poppies now,
Pour venom, Fever, on my brain!
Too long you test my hand and brow:
What ask you? "What—reward is paid?"
A malediction on you, jade,
And your disdain!
No, I retract,
'Tis cold— I hear the rain importune—
Fever, I'll soften, show my tact:
Here's gold—a coin—see it gleam!
Shall I with blessings on you beam,
Call you "good fortune"?
The door opes wide,
And raindrops on my bed are scattered,
The light's blown out—woes multiplied!
He that hath not an hundred rhymes,
I'll wager, in these dolorous times
We'd see him shattered!