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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