Bayard Taylor image

Bayard Taylor

Jan. 11, 1825 - Dec 19, 1878



by Bayard Taylor


We fools! that meekly take the bit
And drag the burden all our lives!
Poor, bllnded steeds, we all submit,
Nor know our load, scarce seeing it,
Although with stinging lash Fate goads us as she drives.


What does it help, the gold we bear,
When we are worn, and halt, and lean?
No fresher tastes the dusty air
When Fame's triumphant trumpets blare,
And we the road would ]eave, to lie in pastures green.


Nor profits much a virtuous name,
So short a time the crown we wear:
In fifty years 't will be the same
As if it were a crown of shame,
For none will know our lives, or, if they knew, would care.


Life came to me: why should I take
The tasks I did not seek to do?
I did them for another's sake
In vain: and now the yoke I break,
And let the world roll on, regardless of its crew.


Here, take my days, whatever Fate
The worthless gift may choose to claim;
For I am weary of their weight:
Alike to me is love or hate:
Do with me as you please, all fortunes are the same.


The Poet's Journal
Copyright 1863
Ticknor and Fields, Boston