To My Muse

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To my Muse
Invoked no longer is the Muse,
The lyre is out of date;
The poets it no longer use,
And youth its inspiration now imbues
With other form and state.

If today our fancies aught
Of verse would still require,
Helicon’s hill remains unsought;
And without heed we but inquire,
Why the coffee is not brought.

In the place of thought sincere
That our hearts may feel,
We must seize a pen of steel,
And with verse and line severe
Fling abroad a jest and jeer.

Muse, that in the past inspired me,
And with songs of love hast fired me;
Go thou now to dull repose,
For today in sordid prose
I must earn the gold that hired me.

Now must I ponder deep,
Meditate, and struggle on;
E’en sometimes I must weep;
For he who love would keep
Great pain has undergone.

Fled are the days of ease,
The days of Love’s delight;
When flowers still would please
And give to suffering souls surcease
From pain and sorrow’s blight.

One by one they have passed on,
All I loved and moved among;
Dead or married—from me gone,
For all I place my heart upon
By fate adverse are stung.

Go thou, too, O Muse, depart,
Other regions fairer find;
For my land but offers art
For the laurel, chains that bind,
For a temple, prisons blind.

But before thou leavest me, speak:
Tell me with thy voice sublime,
Thou couldst ever from me seek
A song of sorrow for the weak,
Defiance to the tyrant’s crime.
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