Henry Sambrooke Leigh


My life -- to Discontent a prey --
Is in the sere and yellow leaf.
'Tis vain for happiness to pray:
No solace brings my heart relief.
My pulse is weak, my spirit low;
I cannot think, I cannot write.
I strive to spin a verse -- but lo!
My rhymes are very rarely right.

I sit within my lowly cell,
And strive to court the comic Muse;
But how can Poesy excel,
With such a row from yonder mews?
In accents passionately high
The carter chides the stubborn horse;
And shouts a 'Gee!' or yells a 'Hi!'
In tones objectionably hoarse.

In vain for Poesy I wait;
No comic Muse my call obeys.
My brains are loaded with a weight
That mocks the laurels and the bays.
I wish my brains could only be
Inspired with industry anew;
And labour like the busy bee,
In strains no Genius ever knew.

Although I strive with all my might,
Alas, my efforts all are vain!
I've no afflatus -- not a mite;
I cannot work the comic vein.
The Tragic Muse may hear my pleas,
And waft me to a purer clime.
Melpomene! assist me, please,
To somewhat higher heights to climb.

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Henry Sambrooke Leigh