Alfred Austin

(30 May 1835 – 2 June 1913 / Headingley)

Free - Poem by Alfred Austin

Joy! Free, at last, from vulgar thrall:
No longer need my voice be dumb;
And quicker far than thou canst call,
O Italy, I come!

To feel me the adopted heir
Of Art and Nature wed and blent,
In days of trouble routed care;
In these will bring content.

To know the world is not a mart,
The soul a lackey, life a shame,
Will scare the past, allay its smart,
Almost annul the blame.

Away with all these makeshift toys,
Provisional for heart and sense,
Which kept a useful equipoise
'Gainst sheer indifference!

'Twas well enough, whilst ill at ease,
To parley with each passing whim,
Which, though accredited to please,
Was pleasure's pseudonym.

And if one pleasure lure me still-
Just one-I scarcely can but thank,
'Twere wisdom not to linger till
It, like the rest, be rank.

Bear me, rough breakers, swiftly on!
Yield, mist-wrapped mountains, passage through;
I fret, I fever, to be gone
To skies and waters blue:

Where, loosed from trammels, one may still
Complete the functions fettered here;
Heart unsuborned, unbiassed will,
And intellect sincere.

My senses with my spirit meet
To urge me from this northern soil,
Ere stealthy Winter's ambushed sleet
Swoop on autumnal spoil.

The sickle hath performed its work,
The storm-gusts sweep the aspens bare,
Careering clouds and shadows mirk
Cow the disheartened air.

No swallow circles round the roof,
No chirp redeems the dripping shed;
The very gables frown reproof-
Why not already fled?

I fly. Decked forms and landscape bare,
Enticements robbed of every spell,
Frivolities no longer fair,
Ye bubbles all, farewell!


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Poem Submitted: Thursday, April 8, 2010



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