In dreary dullness and in gloom
He gazes out, does not look down,
His essence lingers like a perfume,
English roses, warm air blown.
His doublet, once striped gold and brown,
Is black with coal dust dark as doom,
His stiff lace ruff, silly costume of a clown,
In dreary dullness and in gloom,
Is cream and grey like storm tossed spume,
But still it serves to frame his face. No frown
Distorts his youthful brow, his cheek still sports a coral bloom.
He gazes out, does not look down.
He was not then of great renown,
Yet seems a father to the man. What an heirloom
Man inherits, in childlike clarity of thought which lights up the unknown.
His essence lingers like the perfume
Of a better kind of wisdom which survives beyond the tomb.
His face is grave, his intellectual merit, though not here fully grown,
Is obvious as he looks on. Freedom's not some foul fume
English roses, warm air blown,
Are not sweeter, breathe it in. Why doubt what you are clearly shown?
Past light of stars illume
The present darkness of the night. Choose what is known.
You aren't children, but free men, born
In dreary dullness.