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Poem by Lewis Morris


Alone


WHAT shall it profit a man
To have stood by the source of things,
To have spent the fair years of his youthful prime
In mystical questionings ;
To have scaled the lovely height,
While his brothers slept below ;
To have seen the vision bright
Which but few on earth may know,Ч
If when his task be done
He lives his life alone ?
If in the busy street
None come whom he may greet ?
If in his lonely room
With the night the shadows deepen into ghostly shapes of gloom ?

It may be his soul may say,
' I have gained me a splendid dower ;
I can look around on the toiling crowd,
With the pride of a conscious power.
I can hear the passer-by
Tell of all my world-wide fame ;
I have friends I shall not see
Who dwell fondly on my name.
If the sweet smile of wife
Light not my joyless life,
If to my silent home
No childish laughter come,
Shall I no solace find
In communion with the monarchs of the fair broad realm of mind ?'

But when sickness wears him, or age
Creeps on, and his soul doth yearn
For the tender hand and the soothing voice
That shall never more return
When the lessening throng of friends,
Not unkind, but each one set
Safe within white walls of home,
All the world without forget,Ч
Shall not old memories rise
'Twixt book and weary eyes,
Till knowledge come to seem
A profitless vague dream ?
Shall not he sometimes sigh
For the careless past unlearned, and the happy days gone by ?

Ah ! not to be happy alone,
Are men sent, or to be glad.
Oft-times the sweetest music is made
By the voices of the sad.
The thinker oft is bent
By a too-great load of thought ;
The discoverer's soul grows sick
With the secret vainly sought :
Lonely may be the home,
No breath of fame may come,
Yet through their lives doth shine
A purple light Divine,
And a nobler pain they prove
Than the bloom of lower pleasures, or the fleeting spell of love. 



                      Lewis Morris


Lewis Morris's other poems:
  1. A Cynic's Day-Dream
  2. The Reply
  3. The Living Past
  4. A Yorkshire River
  5. On an Old Minster


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Sydney Dobell Alone ("There came to me softly a small wind from the sea")
  • Edgar Poe Alone ("From childhood's hour I have not been")
  • Ambrose Bierce Alone ("IN contact, lo! the flint and steel")

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