Home  »  Poems of Places An Anthology in 31 Volumes  »  Lord Strafford’s Meditations in the Tower

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

By Anonymous

GO, empty joys,

With all your noise,

And leave me here alone,

In sweet sad silence to bemoan

The fickle worldly height,

Whose danger none can see aright,

Whilst your false splendors dim his sight.

Go, and ensnare

With your trim ware

Some other easy wight,

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

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,

Then, climbing towards it, tumble down.

Let him appear

In his bright sphere

Like Cynthia in her pride,

With starlike troops on every side;

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,

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.

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,

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,

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

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,

Will run to catch a falling star.

Now ’t is too late

To imitate

Those lights whose pallidness

Argues no inward guiltiness;

Their course one way is bent;

Which is the cause there ’s no dissent

In Heaven’s High Court of Parliament.