Francis Turner Palgrave

The Poet’s Euthanasia

November: 1674

Cloked in gray threadbare poverty, and blind,
Age-weak, and desolate, and beloved of God;
High-heartedness to long repulse resign'd,
Yet bating not one jot of hope, he trod
The sunless skyless streets he could not see;
By those faint feet made sacrosanct to me.

Yet on that laureate brow the sign he wore
Of Phoebus' wrath; who,--for his favourite child,
When war and faction raised their rancorous roar,
Leagued with fanatic frenzy, blood-defiled,
To the sweet Muses and himself untrue,--
Around the head he loved thick darkness threw.

--He goes:--But with him glides the Pleiad throng
Of that imperial line, whom Phoebus owns
His ownest: for, since his, no later song
Has soar'd, as wide-wing'd, to the diadem'd thrones
That, in their inmost heaven, the Muses high
Set for the sons of immortality.

Most loved, most lovely, near him as he went,
Vergil: and He, supremest for all time,
In hoary blindness:--But the sweet lament
Of Lesbian love, the Parian song sublime,
Follow'd:--and that stern Florentine apart
Cowl'd himself dark in thought, within his heart

Nursing the dream of Church and Caesar's State,
Empire and Faith:--while Fancy's favourite child,
The myriad-minded, moving up sedate
Beckon'd his countryman, and inly smiled:--
Then that august Theophany paled from view,
To higher stars drawn up, and kingdoms new.

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