Littell's Living Age/Volume 128/Issue 1659/My Song


You ask a song,
Such as of yore, an autumn's eventide,
Some blest boy-poet caroll'd, — and then died.
Nay, I have sung too long.

Say, shall I fling
A sigh to beauty at her window-pane?
I sang there once, might I not once again? —
Or tell me whom to sing.

The peer of peers?
Lord of the wealth that gives his time employ —
Time to possess, but hardly to enjoy —
He cannot need my tears.

The man of mind,
Or priest, who darkens what is clear as day?
I cannot sing them, yet I will not say
Such guides are wholly blind.

The orator?
He quiet lies where yon fresh hillock heaves;
'Twere well to sprinkle there those laurel-leaves
He won, — but never wore.

Or shall I twine
A cypress? Wreath of glory and of gloom, —
To march a gallant soldier to his doom,
Needs fuller voice than mine.

No lay have I,
No murmured measure meet for your delight,
No song of love and death, to make you quite
Forget that we must die.

Something is wrong, —
The world is over-wise; or, more's the pity,
These days are far too busy for a ditty,
Yet take it, — take my song.

Frederick Locker