Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, MARGITES, by FREDERICK GODDARD TUCKERMAN

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

MARGITES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I neither plough the field, nor sow
Last Line: And think a life well lost is mine.
Subject(s): Walking; Idleness; Decay

I neither plough the field, nor sow,
Nor hold the spade, nor drive the cart,
Nor spread the heap, nor hill nor hoe,
To keep the barren land in heart.

And tide and term, and full and change,
Find me at one with ridge and plain;
And labor's round, and sorrow's range,
Press lightly, like regardless rain.

Pleasure and peril, want and waste,
Knock at the door with equal stress,
And flit beyond; nor aught I taste
Disrelishing of bitterness.

And tide and term, and full and change,
Crown me no cup with flowers above;
Nor reck I of embraces strange,
Nor honey-month of lawful love.

The seasons pass upon the mould
With counter-change of cloud and clear,
Occasion sure of heat and cold,
And all the usage of the year.

But, leaning from my window, chief
I mark the Autumn's mellow signs,--
The frosty air, the yellow leaf,
The ladder leaning on the vines.

The maple from his brood of boughs
Puts northward out a reddening limb;
The mist draws faintly round the house,
And all the headland heights are dim:

And yet it is the same, as when
I looked across the chestnut woods,
And saw the barren landscape then
O'er the red bunch of lilac-buds;

And all things seem the same: 'tis one,
To lie in sleep, or toil as they
Who rise beforetime with the sun,
And so keep footstep with their day;

For aimless oaf, and wiser fool,
Work to one end by differing deeds;--
The weeds rot in the standing pool;
The water stagnates in the weeds:

And all by waste or warfare falls,
Has gone to wreck, or crumbling goes,
Since Nero planned his golden walls,
Or the Cham Cublai built his house.

But naught I reck of change and fray,
Watching the clouds at morning driven,
The still declension of the day;
And, when the moon is just in heaven,

I walk, unknowing where or why;
Or idly lie beneath the pine,
And bite the dry-brown threads, and lie
And think a life well lost is mine.

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