Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > England
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV.  1876–79.
London Tower
Lord Strafford’s Meditations in the Tower
GO, empty joys,
With all your noise,
And leave me here alone,
In sweet sad silence to bemoan
The fickle worldly height,        5
Whose danger none can see aright,
Whilst your false splendors dim his sight.
Go, and ensnare
With your trim ware
Some other easy wight,        10
And cheat him with your flattering light;
Rain on his head a shower
Of honors, favor, wealth, and power;
Then snatch it from him in an hour.
Fill his big mind        15
With gallant wind
Of insolent applause;
Let him not fear all-curbing laws,
Nor king, nor people’s frown;
But dream of something like a crown,        20
Then, climbing towards it, tumble down.
Let him appear
In his bright sphere
Like Cynthia in her pride,
With starlike troops on every side;        25
For number and clear light
Such as may soon o’erwhelm him quite,
And blend them both in one dead night.
Welcome, sad night,
Grief’s sole delight,        30
Thy mourning best agrees
With honor’s funeral obsequies!
In Thetis’ lap he lies,
Mantled with soft securities,
Whose too much sunshine dims his eyes.        35
Was he too bold,
Who needs would hold
With curbing reins the Day,
And make Sol’s fiery steeds obey?
Then, sure, as rash was I,        40
Who with ambitious wings did fly
In Charles’s Wain too loftily.
I fall, I fall!
Whom shall I call?
Alas! can he be heard,        45
Who now is neither loved nor feared?
You who have vowed the ground
To kiss, where my blest steps were found,
Come, catch me at my last rebound.
How each admires        50
Heaven’s twinkling fires,
Whilst from their glorious seat
Their influence gives light and heat;
But O, how few there are,
Though danger from the act be far,        55
Will run to catch a falling star.
Now ’t is too late
To imitate
Those lights whose pallidness
Argues no inward guiltiness;        60
Their course one way is bent;
Which is the cause there ’s no dissent
In Heaven’s High Court of Parliament.

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