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I could loose my boat
And could bid it float
Where the idlest wind should pilot,
So its glad course lay
From this earth away,
Toward an untrodden islet.


For this earth is old,
And its heart is cold,
And the palsy of age has bound it;
And my spirit frets
For the viewless nets
Which are hourly clinging round it.


And with joyful glee
We have heard of thee,
Thou Isle in mid-ocean sleeping;
And thy records old,
Which the Sage has told
How the Memphian tombs are keeping.


But we know not where,
'Neath the desert air,
To look for the pleasant places
Of the youth of Time,
Whose austerer prime
The haunts of his childhood effaces.


Like the golden flowers
Of the western bowers,
Have waned their immortal shadows;
And no harp may tell
Where the asphodel
Clad in light those Elysian meadows.


And thou, fairest Isle
In the daylight's smile,
Hast thou sunk in the boiling ocean,
While beyond thy strand
Rose a mightier land
From the wave in alternate motion?


Are the isles that stud
The Atlantic flood,
But the peaks of thy tallest mountains,
While repose below
The great waters' flow
Thy towns and thy towers and fountains


Have the Ocean powers
Made their quiet bowers
In thy fanes and thy dim recesses?
Or in haunts of thine
Do the sea-maids twine
Coral wreaths for their dewy tresses?


Or does foot not fall
In deserted hall,
Choked with wrecks that ne'er won their haven
By the ebb trailed o'er
Thy untrampled floor,
Which their sunken wealth has paven?


Oh, appear! appear!
Not as when thy spear
Ruled as far as the broad Ægean,
But in Love's own might,
And in Freedom's right,
Till the nations uplift their pæan;


Who now watch and weep,
And their vigil keep,
Till they faint for expectation;
Till their dim eyes shape
Temple, tower, and cape,
From the cloud and the exhalation.