Poems (Wordsworth, 1815)/Volume 2/Epitaph 3
There never breathed a man who when his life
Was closing might not of that life relate
Toils long and hard.—The Warrior will report
Of wounds, and bright swords flashing in the field,
And blast of trumpets. He, who hath been doomed
To bow his forehead in the courts of kings,
Will tell of fraud and never-ceasing hate,
Envy, and heart-inquietude, derived
From intricate cabals of treacherous friends.
I, who on ship-board lived from earliest Youth,
Could represent the countenance horrible
Of the vexed waters, and the indignant rage
Of Auster and Boötes. Forty years
Over the well-steered Gallies did I rule:—
From huge Pelorus to the Atlantic pillars,
Rises no mountain to mine eyes unknown;
And the broad gulfs I traversed oft—and—oft:
Of every cloud which in the heavens might stir
I knew the force; and hence the rough sea's pride
Availed not to my Vessel's overthrow.
What noble pomp and frequent have not I
On regal decks beheld! yet in the end
I learn that one poor moment can suffice
To equalize the lofty and the low.
We sail the sea of life—a Calm One finds,
And One a Tempest—and, the voyage o'er,
Death is the quiet haven of us all.
If more of my condition ye would know,
Savona was my birth-place, and I sprang
Of noble Parents: sixty years and three
Lived I——then yielded to a slow disease.