Verse > Anthologies > Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. > An American Anthology, 1787–1900
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Edmund Clarence Stedman, ed. (1833–1908).  An American Anthology, 1787–1900.  1900.
 
14. Plato to Theon
 
By Philip Freneau
 
 
THE GRANDEUR of this earthly round,
  Where Theon would forever be,
Is but a name, is but a sound—
  Mere emptiness and vanity.
 
Give me the stars, give me the skies,        5
  Give me the heaven’s remotest sphere,
Above these gloomy scenes to rise
  Of desolation and despair.
 
These native fires that warmed the mind.
  Now languid grown, too dimly glow;        10
Joy has to grief the heart resigned,
  And love itself is changed to woe.
 
The joys of wine are all you boast,—
  These for a moment damp your pain;
The gleam is o’er, the charm is lost,        15
  And darkness clouds the soul again.
 
Then seek no more for bliss below,
  Where real bliss can ne’er be found;
Aspire where sweeter blossoms blow
  And fairer flowers bedeck the ground;        20
 
Where plants of life the plains invest,
  And green eternal crowns the year;
The little god within your breast
  Is weary of his mansion here.
 
Like Phosphor, sent before the day,        25
  His height meridian to regain,—
The dawn arrives—he must not stay
  To shiver on a frozen plain.
 
Life’s journey past, for death prepare,—
  ’T is but the freedom of the mind;        30
Jove made us mortal—his we are;
  To Jove, dear Theon, be resigned.
 

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