Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE INTREPID MARINER, by WILLIAM ROSE BENET



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THE INTREPID MARINER, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Shelley speaks: / beyond helvetius' dim beginning down
Last Line: There! ... On our quarter .. God, they'll run us down!
Subject(s): Courage; Valor; Bravery


Shelley speaks:

Beyond Helvetius' dim beginning dawn
And Rousseau's rationalistic premises
And even Godwin's "Justice" I can soar.
Yet sometimes through my empyrean borne
Comes the far throbbing of great lonely wings,
And then their nearer thunder, as they take
Form, and the vast ghost of a muffled God
Sinks through the æther pass me with a wail
As from a thousand throats of Humankind
Dirging his dark descendence.

Does it mean
A bound to Man's perfectibility,
Meting my vision with unvarying Law?
Ah, is it possible to wing too high
Till Being chills in the intense inane,—
Until the veins of this rich, human heart
Congeal with ichor not for veins of Man,
Icy with godlike passion? (Theirs was ice
Despite the amorous heat of elder days.)
Yet—"every heart contains perfection's germ."
When have I aught but travailed for the world?
How comes this hateful film across my life
Freezing each mortal impulse, turning Right
To guise of Wrong? They hate me who should love.
I toil like Sisyphus against the stone,
And still their hearts are stone,—and still I toil,—
And their hearts break and rain their blood on me,
And arms cling round me, crying, "Cold as death!
Cold! Cold!"

If I am constant to my star,
I only, and the others quail and fail,
Can I humiliate myself to them
Who bear the signal of that brighter morn
Waiting the human day? I have been proud.
I have been weak. And ever have been strange.
But say I have been constant! Harriet! Harriet!
Say that I have been constant! I protest
Against the dark indictment of your eyes.
If I have done you wrong would not my soul
Render its verdict now?—my reason scream
Out on such self-deception? But I find
Only Creation's sneering iteration
"For an ideal of love, an ideal of love,
An ideal of love!" ... It recks not. ...

How this gray
Blank sea-fog thickens! There's the thunder-squall,
Charles Vivian! Williams, do you feel the drops?
Scarce out from Leghorn, and the "Ariel" ... Hark!
There! ... on our quarter .. God, they'll run us down!





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