How came I on this bogus pedestal?
Heard with respect, scanned by admiring eyes,
Learnèd, at home in Zion, genial,
Confidently expected to be wise!
Wise to absorb, or cunning to express?
Heart—with your hollow self horizon-filled—
What is your past, if not a wavering mess
Of goals descried but never firmly willed?
How stands it now, this instant, in this room,
With one sweet woman’s presence to your mind
A more persuasive antidote to gloom
Than all the books with which its walls are lined?
These the wise thoughts you breathe with every breath:
These, and the stealthy, swift approach of death.