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Poem by Lewis Morris


Nemesis


WHO, without fear
Piercing the inmost deeps of silent thought,
Has won the prize with lonely labour sought,
And many a bitter tear,
He in his breast doth hold
A rarer thing than gold,
And a fair treasure greater than in words is told.

For he shall learn,
Not from another's lore, but his own soul,
Whither life's hidden ocean currents roll,
And with sure helm shall turn
Into a haven fair,
Where, on the breathless air,
Nor wave nor storm shall break, but peace is everywhere.

There, in light boat
Laid on the soft breast of the summer sea,
Lapt day by day in great tranquillity,
He carelessly shall float.
He scarce shall see or hear
A sight or sound of fear,
Only a low-voiced siren always gliding near.

Without the bar
The enormous surges leap from sea to sky.
Upon the ghostly inland summits high
The avalanche thunders far.
On the dull plains below,
In long successions slow
The toiling generations sow, and reap, and sow.

Dream-like, he sees
The lurid smoke blot the beleaguered town,
Or the great earthquake shake the city down ;
Labours and miseries ;
Fire takes thenv famine, flood,
And fever's hideous brood.
By night the black skies redden with a glare like blood.

For him, meanwhile,
Laid in the shelter of his silken sail,
Tho' wind and storm on sea and land prevail,
The enchanted waters smile.
Always in that calm deep,
Wherein life's currents sleep,
He sees high heaven reflected, tho' all men may weep.

Yet now and then
Between the stars and him, sunk deep below,
He starts to see a strange dead semblance grow,
Gone from the eyes of men.
Some thin and pale-eyed ghost,
By marred reflections crost,
Of thoughts, and faiths, and yearnings long since lost.

And if these fade
Betimes, he slowly gains to peace again ;
But if too long they tarry, such a pain
Those clear depths doth invade,
That for sheer terror he,
And utter misery,
Flies to the storm-wrapt hills and hungry calling sea. 



                      Lewis Morris


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


Poems of the other poets with the same name:

  • Ralph Emerson Nemesis ("ALREADY blushes in thy cheek")

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