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A poem by William Johnson Cory


Title:     Academus
Author: William Johnson Cory [More Titles by Cory]

Perhaps there's neither tear nor smile,
When once beyond the grave.
Woe's me: but let me live meanwhile
Amongst the bright and brave;

My summers lapse away beneath
Their cool Athenian shade:
And I a string for myrtle-wreath,
A whetstone unto blade;

I cheer the games I cannot play;
As stands a crippled squire
To watch his master through the fray,
Uplifted by desire.

I roam, where little pleasures fall,
As morn to morn succeeds,
To melt, or ere the sweetness pall,
Like glittering manna-beads.

The wishes dawning in the eyes,
The softly murmured thanks;
The zeal of those that miss the prize
On clamorous river-banks;

The quenchless hope, the honest choice,
The self-reliant pride,
The music of the pleading voice
That will not be denied;

The wonder flushing in the cheek,
The questions many a score,
When I grow eloquent, and speak
Of England, and of war--

Oh, better than the world of dress
And pompous dining, out,
Better than simpering and finesse
Is all this stir and rout.

I'll borrow life, and not grow old;
And nightingales and trees
Shall keep me, though the veins be cold,
As young as Sophocles.

And when I may no longer live,
They'll say, who know the truth,
He gave whatever he had to give
To freedom and to youth.

[The end]
William Johnson Cory's poem: Academus