The Spirit of the Nation/Song of Sorrow

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Dead are my hopes, and my desponding soul
An ardid soil, that bears nor fruits nor flowers;
And, blindly tottering to an unknown goal,
Joyless and goodless pass my futile hours.

There is no sunshine in my spring of life—
There is no rest-place in my pilgrimage;
All outward ill and endless inward strife,
My youth have fettered with the chains of age.

Haunted with gloomy thoughts for evermore,
Like sheeted ghosts, peopling my solitude,
I sigh for hopes that time may not restore,
And weep my endless exile from the good.

The dark and goalless voyage of my fate
Is lighted by the charnel lamp alone;
And shore or shipwreck callous I await
Nor that with smile would see, nor this with groan.

And one sole, simple, solitary joy,
Dear as the light that cheers the wand'rer's way,
Is left my languid senses to employ,
And fill my mind throughout the weary day.

And thou, sage Philosoph, wouldst thou discover
The talisman that sways me—soul and body?
List—on my lips the solemn words now hover:
"'Tis oysters barbecued and whiskey toddy."