Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: PROGRESS, by EDWARD ROBERT BULWER-LYTTON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE WANDERER: 2. IN FRANCE: PROGRESS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When liberty lives loud on every lip
Last Line: Even to thyself?
Alternate Author Name(s): Meredith, Owen; Lytton, 1st Earl Of; Lytton, Robert
Subject(s): France; Freedom; Travel; Liberty; Journeys; Trips

WHEN Liberty lives loud on every lip,
But Freedom moans,
Trampled by Nations whose faint footfalls slip
Round bloody thrones;
When, here and there, in dungeon and in thrall,
Or exile pale,
Like torches dying at a funeral,
Brave natures fail;
When Truth, the armed archangel, stretches wide
God's tromp in vain,
And the world, drowsing, turns upon its side
To drowse again;
O Man, whose course hath called itself sublime
Since it began,
What art thou in such dying age of time,
As man to man?

When Love's last wrong hath been forgotten coldly,
As First Love's face:
And, like a rat that comes to wanton boldly
In some lone place,
Once festal, -- in the realm of light and laughter
Grim Doubt appears;
Whilst weird suggestions from Death's vague Hereafter,
O'er ruined years,
Creep, dark and darker, with new dread to mutter
Through Life's long shade,
Yet make no more in the chill breast the flutter
Which once they made:
Whether it be, -- that all doth at the grave
Round to its term,
That nothing lives in that last darkness, save
The little worm,
Or whether the tired spirit prolong its course
Through realms unseen, --
Secure, that unknown world cannot be worse
Than this hath been;
Then when through Thought's gold chain, so frail and slender,
No link will meet;
When all the broken harps of Language render
No sound that's sweet;
When, like torn books, sad days weigh down each other
I' the dusty shelf;
O Man, what art thou, O my friend, my brother,
Even to thyself?

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