WEARY of myself, and sick of asking What I am, and what I ought to be, At the vessel’s prow I stand, which bears me Forwards, forwards, o’er the starlit sea. And a look of passionate desire 5 O’er the sea and to the stars I send: ‘Ye who from my childhood up have calm’d me, Calm me, ah, compose me to the end. ‘Ah, once more,’ I cried, ‘ye Stars, ye Waters, On my heart your mighty charm renew: 10 Still, still let me, as I gaze upon you, Feel my soul becoming vast like you.’ From the intense, clear, star-sown vault of heaven, Over the lit sea’s unquiet way, In the rustling night-air came the answer — 15 ‘Wouldst thou be as these are? Live as they. ‘Unaffrighted by the silence round them, Undistracted by the sights they see, These demand not that the things without them Yield them love, amusement, sympathy. 20 ‘And with joy the stars perform their shining, And the sea its long moon-silver’d roll. For alone they live, nor pine with noting All the fever of some differing soul. ‘Bounded by themselves, and unobservant 25 In what state God’s other works may be, In their own tasks all their powers pouring, These attain the mighty life you see.’ O air-born Voice! long since, severely clear, A cry like thine in my own heart I hear. 30 ‘Resolve to be thyself: and know, that he Who finds himself, loses his misery.
No, thou art come too late, Empedocles!And the world hath the day, and must break thee,Not thou the world. With men thou canst not live,Their thoughts, their ways, their wishes, are not thine;And being lonely thou art miserable,For something has impair'd they spirit's strength,And dried its self-sufficing font of joy.
Only--but this is rare--When a beloved hand is laid in ours,When, jaded with the rush and glareOf the interminable hours, Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear,When our world-deafen'd earIs by the tones of a loved voice caress'd--A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.A man becomes aware of his life's flow,And hears its winding murmur; and he seesThe meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.