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THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: 'PRENSUS IN AEGAEO', by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: Tis toil must help us to forget
Last Line: And leads me...Whither? Whither?
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): France; Travel; Journeys; Trips

'T IS toil must help us to forget.
In strife, they say, grief finds repose.
Well, there's the game! I throw the stakes: --
A life of war, a world of foes,
A heart that triumphs while it breaks.
Some day I too, perchance, may lose
This shade which memory o'er me throws,
And laugh as others laugh, (who knows?)
But ah, 't will not be yet!

How many years since she and I
Walked that old terrace, hand-in-hand!
Just one star in the rosy sky,
And silence on the summer land.
And she? ...
I think I hear her sing
That song, -- the last of all our songs.
How all comes back! -- thing after thing,
The old life o'er me throngs!
But I must to the palace go;
The ambassador's to-morrow:
Here's little time for thought, I know,
And little more for sorrow.
Already in the porte-cochere
The carriage sounds...my hat and gloves!
I hear my friend's foot on the stair, --
How joyously it moves!
He must have done some wicked thing
To make him tread so light:
Or is it only that the king
Admired his wife last night?
We talk of nations by the way,
And praise the Nuncio's manners,
And end with something fine to say
About the "allied banners."
'T is well to mix with all conditions
Of men in every station:
I sup to-morrow with musicians,
Upon the invitation
Of my clever friend, the journalist,
Who writes the reading plays
Which no one reads; a socialist
Most social in his ways.
But I am sick of all the din
That's made in praising Verdi,
Who only know a violin
Is not a hurdy-gurdy.

Here oft, while on a nerveless hand
An aching brow reclining,
Through this tall window where I stand,
I see the great town shining.
Hard by, the restless Boulevart roars,
Heard all the night through, even in dreaming:
While from its hundred open doors
The many-headed Life is streaming.
Upon the world's wide thoroughfares
My lot is cast. So be it!
Each on his back his burthen bears,
And feels, though he may not see it.
My life is not more hard than theirs
Who toil on either side:
They cry for quiet in their prayers,
And it is still denied.

But sometimes, when I stand alone,
Life pauses, -- now and then:
And in the distance dies the moan
Of miserable men.
As in a dream (how strange!) I seem
To be lapsing, slowly, slowly,
From noise and strife, to a stiller life,
Where all is husht and holy.

Ah, love! our way's in a stranger land.
We may not rest together.
For an Angel takes me by the hand,
And leads me...whither? whither?

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