Be Comforted, My Little Muse


BE comforted,
My wistful little muse;
Lift up thy head ;
To pipe thy slender strain no more refuse.
Poor creature, could’st thou choose,
Great themes thou would’st indite;
Scorn thy kind bed,
And pacing the dim valley all this night,
A POEM write;
A poem lovely in its sound
As Lycidas, or L’Allegro;
And in its thought a trump to blow, —
A sword to wound, —
A banner under which to fight!


But turn and see,
My foolish little muse,
What young Theocritus is he
Who walks by yonder “ fountain Arethuse ” ?
A schoolboy loitering home at even
With face as bright as the far western heaven;
Walking apart,
And thinking of the Greeks at Marathon,
Or Richard of the Lion Heart; —
The English barons and King John,
Or farmer troops at Lexington.
Oft, in the meadows round his home,
He sees the colonnades of Rome, —
Sees Holyrood, and London Tower;
Or, waking at the midnight hour
On some chill evening of spring,
He sees the fairy lanterns swing,
And hears a chime of magic bells,
And feels the waft of many a tiny wing Through the lone farmhouse where he dwells.
Then, on a Sunday morning calm,
Hearing in church some mighty Psalm,
He lifts his joyous head on high,
And in his heart for some great cause would die.
Dost thou not see,
Poor little muse of mine,
Walk by his side, and leaves of laurel twine?