George Dyer

(1755 - 1841 / England)

To An Enthusiast - Poem by George Dyer

Were you, my friend, some nimble-winged thing,
That could with eagle speed extend your flight,
Then might you range the world,
Then pierce each lonely place.

Whether 'twere lazar house, or dungeon drear,
Or hill, or beetling cliff, or time-worn cave,
Where Misery sat and sigh'd
Her troubles, still unseen;

And here, perchance, at eve her hollow eye
On the hard stone at times might dropp the tear—
At once the dame, who mourn'd
Her hapless children's fate;

Then had you, gentle friend, the chemic art
Of some young bee, that roves from flow'r to flow'r;
How fondly might you rove!
What balmy sweets inhale!

Then, blest employment! with what tender skill,
Wondering, might you those honey'd treasures mix;
And form a sovereign balm
To heal the mourner's heart!

Were you, my friend, some dart-emitting God,
Like him, who pierc'd in Grecia mortal hearts;
How might you range the world,
And find each gladsome place!

Whether 'twas village-green, or city gay,
How might you roving find each cheerful scene,
Where youths and maidens smile,
And carol thro' the day!

And when, perchance, with joy-illumin'd eye,
Thoughtless of love, they frolick'd in the dance,
How might you throw your dart,
And flit unseen away!

Then you again might change your tiny form,
Stand forth the God, protector of the fair,
Your head with roses crown'd,
And in your hand a torch!

Then might you light the lovers on their way,
Then sing the song, that should endear their hearts,
'Till they should love, and love,
And still grow old in love!

Ah! could you fondly climb yon orient sun,
Ride on his beam, and travel round the world,
How might you, crown'd with light,
Cheer all the nations round!

Yes! Friend, were you like that refulgent sun,
How might you in your daily course dispense
Light, liberty, and love,
Still travelling to bliss!

Were you — but cease, Enthusiast, cease your speed;
For what avail, O man, fantastic flights?
Why muse ideal deeds,
Heedless of what is true?

You are not bee, nor sun, nor sprite, nor god:
You are a humble, weak, unwinged thing,
The frail inhabitant
Of this poor clod of earth!

And has not this poor earth, that very spot,
Where thou art wont to rove, enough of range?
Ah! where would'st thou move?
Behold your proper sphere!

Cease then, Enthusiast: thy slender bark,
How should it hope to cross the mighty sea?
Keep close to shore — or, ah!
Thy bark shall founder soon.


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Poem Submitted: Monday, April 9, 2012



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