HOW was it with the Genoese,
What feeling filled his heaving breast,
When far across the morning seas
He saw the island of his quest?
Perchance beyond the forest crown
And shining sands of that new clime
He saw a light of long renown
That blazed across the Seas of Time.
Or maybe, in that hour grown wise,
He would have bartered there and then
His life for some sweet life that lies
In utter peace unnamed of men.
For what is Fame, however brave,
Beside the charms of endless peace -
The cool, sweet quiet of the grave,
To be, and having been, to cease?
We quest not like the Genoese;
But, after sailing under skies
That bend and brood o'er lonely seas,
We light at last on some surprise.
Our eyes grow large, we stand amazed,
The past is past, our youth is gone,
The fronting hope that boldly blazed
Before our eyes grows pale and wan.
For every man must come to this,
With aching heart and eyes unsealed
That he shall know the thing he is,
And wonder at himself revealed.