TOM (6th cent / )

The Poet And His Muse

You soar aloft, and over land and wave
Are borne triumphant on the wings I gave,
The swift and mighty wings, music and verse;
Your name in easy numbers smooth and terse,
Is wafted o'er the world; and heard among
At banquetings and feasts, chaunted and sung,
Heard and admir'd: the modulated air
Of flutes and voices of the young and fair
Recite it, and to future times shall tell;
When clos'd within the dark sepulchral cell
Your form shall moulder, and your empty ghost
Wander along the dreary Stygian coast,
Yet shall your memory flourish, fresh and young,
Recorded and reviv'd on every tongue,
In continents and islands, every place
That owns the language of the Grecian race!

No purchas'd prowess of a racing steed,
But the triumphant muse, with airy speed,
Shall bear it wide and far, o'er land and main,
A glorious and unperishable strain;
A mighty prize, gratuitously won,
Fix'd as the earth, immortal as the sun!

But for all this-no kindness in return!
No token or attention or concern!
Baffled and scorn'd, you treat me like a child,
From day to day, with empty words beguil'd.
Remember! common justice, common sense
Are the best blessings which the Gods dispense:
And each man has his object; all aspire
To something which they covet and desire.

Like a fair courser, conqueror in the race,
Bound to a charioteer sordid and base,
I feel it with disdain; and many a day
Have long'd to break the curb and burst away.

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