Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, IN THE LISTS, by BAYARD TAYLOR

Poetry Explorer

Classic and Contemporary Poetry

IN THE LISTS, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Could I choose the age and fortunate season
Last Line: To thank me because I defied!
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): Beauty; Fortune; Freedom; Life; Liberty

COULD I choose the age and fortunate season
When to be born,
I would fly from the censure of your barren reason,
And the scourges of your scorn:
Could I take the tongue, and the land, and the station
That to me were fit,
I would make my life a force and an exultation,
And you could not stifle it!

But the thing most near to the freedom I covet
Is the freedom I wrest
From a time that would bar me from climbing above it,
To seek the East in the West.
I have dreamed of the forms of a nobler existence
Than you give me here,
And the beauty that lies afar in the dateless distance
I would conquer, and bring more near.

It is good, undowered with the bounty of Fortune,
In the sun to stand:
Let others excuse, and cringe, and importune,
I will try the strength of my hand!
If I fail, I shall fall not among the mistaken,
Whom you dare deride:
If I win, you shall hear, and see, and at last awaken
To thank me because I defied!

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