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Poem by Bayard Taylor

The Promissory Note

         IN the lonesome latter years 
              (Fatal years!) 
         To the dropping of my tears 
         Danced the mad and mystic spheres 
         In a rounded, reeling rune, 
              'Neath the moon, 
To the dripping and the dropping of my tears.

         Ah, my soul is swathed in gloom, 
         In a dim Titanic tomb, 
         For my gaunt and gloomy soul 
         Ponders o'er the penal scroll, 
         O'er the parchment (not a rhyme), 
         Out of place,--out of time,-- 
         I am shredded, shorn, unshifty, 
              (Oh, the fifty!) 
         And the days have passed, the three, 
              Over me! 
And the debit and the credit are as one to him and me!

         'Twas the random runes I wrote 
         At the bottom of the note, 
              (Wrote and freely 
              Gave to Greeley) 
         In the middle of the night, 
         In the mellow, moonless night, 
         When the stars were out of sight, 
         When my pulses, like a knell, 
         Danced with dim and dying fays 
         O'er the ruins of my days, 
         O'er the dimeless, timeless days, 
         When the fifty, drawn at thirty, 
         Seeming thrifty, yet the dirty 
Lucre of the market, was the most that I could raise!

              Fiends controlled it, 
        &Nbsp;     (Let him hold it!) 
Devils held for me the inkstand and the pen;
         Now the days of grace are o'er, 
              (Ah, Lenore!) 
         I am but as other men; 
         What is time, time, time, 
         To my rare and runic rhyme, 
         To my random, reeling rhyme, 
         By the sands along the shore, 
Where the tempest whispers, "Pay him!" and I answer, "Nevermore!"

Bayard Taylor

Bayard Taylor's other poems:
  1. The Return of the Goddess
  2. Gettysburg Ode
  3. America to Iceland
  4. To M. T.
  5. Daughter of Egypt

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