The Great War

from The Volunteer and Other Poems, an electronic edition

The Charioteer

(To a Child).

LOVE be thy charioteer:

In all thy brightening and thy darkening hours

May he be at thine ear;

So shalt thou sail at ease above the tow'rs,

Where pale Ambition, in his clouded hood,

Climbs, step by step, the stair;

And Beauty, dancing in the roadside flow'rs,

Or resting in her mountain quietude,

Tresses a-wander on the sunlit air,

Shall meet thee everywhere.

Then the fast-withered leaves of poor Caprice

Shall live again; and she be happy yet.

Freed from the tangle of her glittering net:

And Poverty no longer want for alms,

And everything be blessed,

Save fevered Avarice,

With his discoloured palms,

And talons prisoned in his own gray breast.

Above the path of death,

Through field and wood,

Mountain and flood,

Upon the whirlwind's breath,

My way be sped!

If die thou must,

With wine and crust,

Through flow'rs to dust,

Be thou so charioted!