To a Young Lady who Sent Me a Laurel Crown
Fresh morning gusts have blown away all fear
From my glad bosom,—now from gloominess
I mount for ever—not an atom less
Than the proud laurel shall content my bier.
No! by the eternal stars! or why sit here
In the Sun’s eye, and ‘gainst my temples press
Apollo’s very leaves, woven to bless
By thy white fingers and thy spirit clear.
Lo! who dares say, “Do this”? Who dares call down
My will from its high purpose? Who say,”Stand,”
Or, “Go”? This mighty moment I would frown
On abject Caesars—not the stoutest band
Of mailed heroes should tear off my crown:
Yet would I kneel and kiss thy gentle hand.