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The Unconquered Air

The Unconquered Air


Others endure Man's rule: he therefore deems
   I shall endure it -- I, the unconquered Air!
   Imagines this triumphant strength may bear
His paltry sway! yea, ignorantly dreams,
Because proud Rhea now his vassal seems,
   And Neptune him obeys in billowy lair,
   That he a more sublime assault may dare,
Where blown by tempest wild the vulture screams!

Presumptuous, he mounts: I toss his bones
   Back from the height supernal he has braved:
Ay, as his vessel nears my perilous zones,
I blow the cockle-shell away like chaff
   And give him to the Sea he has enslaved.
He founders in its depths; and then I laugh!


Impregnable I held myself, secure
   Against intrusion. Who can measure Man?
   How should I guess his mortal will outran
Defeat so far that danger could allure
For its own sake? -- that he would all endure,
   All sacrifice, all suffer, rather than
   Forego the daring dreams Olympian
That prophesy to him of victory sure?

Ah, tameless courage! -- dominating power
That, all attempting, in a deathless hour
   Made earth-born Titans godlike, in revolt! --
Fear is the fire that melts Icarian wings:
Who fears nor Fate, nor Time, nor what Time brings,
   May drive Apollo's steeds, or wield the thunderbolt!

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