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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882). Complete Poetical Works. 1893.


From the French. A Quiet Life

LET him who will, by force or fraud innate,

Of courtly grandeurs gain the slippery height;

I, leaving not the home of my delight,

Far from the world and noise will meditate.

Then, without pomps or perils of the great,

I shall behold the day succeed the night;

Behold the alternate seasons take their flight,

And in serene repose old age await.

And so, whenever Death shall come to close

The happy moments that my days compose,

I, full of years, shall die, obscure, alone!

How wretched is the man, with honors crowned,

Who, having not the one thing needful found,

Dies, known to all, but to himself unknown.