Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE BURDEN OF THE DAY, by BAYARD TAYLOR

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

THE BURDEN OF THE DAY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Who shall rise and cast away
Last Line: Lose the burden of the day!
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): Fortune; Freedom; Labor & Laborers; Liberty; Work; Workers


WHO shall rise and cast away,
First, the Burden of the Day?
Who assert his place, and teach
Lighter labor, nobler speech,
Standing firm, erect, and strong,
Proud as Freedom, free as Song?


Lo! we groan beneath the weight
Our own weaknesses create;
Crook the knee and shut the lip,
All for tamer fellowship;
Load our slack, compliant clay
With the Burden of the Day!


Higher paths there are to tread;
Fresher fields around us spread;
Other flames of sun and star
Flash at hand and lure afar;
Larger manhood might we share,
Surer fortune, -- did we dare!


In our mills of common thought
By the pattern all is wrought:
In our school of life, the man
Drills to suit the public plan,
And through labor, love, and play,
Shifts the Burden of the Day.


Ah, the gods of wood and stone
Can a single saint dethrone,
But the people who shall aid
'Gainst the puppets they have made
First they teach and then obey:
'T is the Burden of the Day.


Thunder shall we never hear
In this ordered atmosphere?
Never this monotony feel
Shattered by a trumpet's peal?
Never airs that burst and blow
From eternal summits, know?


Though no man resent his wrong,
Still is free the poet's song:
Still, a stag, his thought may leap
O'er the herded swine and sheep,
And in pastures far away
Lose the Burden of the Day!

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