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Written at Athens.
JANUARY 16, 1810.
The spell is broke, the charm is flown!
Thus is it with life's fitful fever:
We madly smile when we should groan;
Delirium is our best deceiver.
Each lucid interval of thought
Recalls the woes of Nature's charter, And he that acts as wise men ought,
But lives, as saints have died, a' martyr.
Written after swimming from Sestos to Abydos'.
MAY 9, 1810.
IF, in the month of dark December,
Leander, who was nightly wont (What maid will not the tale remember?)
To cross thy stream, broad Hellespont !
If, when the wintry tempest roared,
He sped to Hero, nothing loth, And thus of old thy current poured,
Fair Venus! how I pity both!
For me, degenerate modern wretch,
Though in the genial month of May, My dripping limbs I faintly stretch,
And think I've done a feat to-day.
But since he crossed the rapid tide,
According to the doubtful story, To woo,-and-Lord knows what beside,
And swam for Love, as I for Glory;
'Twere hard to say who fared the best :
Sad mortals! thus the Gods still plague you! He lost his labour, I my jest:
For he was drowned, and I've the ague.