Louis Lavater


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Unstable monster, formless, vast, alone,
How awful in thy giant impotence!
Canst thou not—now—uprear that bulk immense
And make a captured continent thy throne?
Why surging round this planet’s narrow zone
Pursue a star with tireless vehemence,
Yet falter at the feeblest shore’s defence
And crawl into thyself and moan and moan?

We happier mortals when our flood-tide ’s o’er
Shall ebb into the dust and there no more
Be vext with earthly harassment; whilst thou,
Unquiet Ocean, thou shalt neither rest
Nor shalt accomplish thine eternal quest,
But moan and moan—as thou art moaning now!

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Louis Lavater