To James T. Fields.
On a blank leaf of ‘Poems printed, not published.’well thought! who would not rather hear
The songs to Love and Friendship sung
Than those which move the stranger's tongue,
And feed his unselected ear?
Our social joys are more than fame;
Life withers in the public look.
Why mount the pillory of a book,
Or barter comfort for a name?
Who in a house of glass would dwell,
With curious eyes at every pane?
To ring him in and out again,
Who wants the public crier's bell?
To see the angel in one's way,
Who wants to play the ass's part,—
Bear on his back the wizard Art,
And in his service speak or bray?
And who his manly locks would shave,
And quench the eyes of common sense,
To share the noisy recompense
That mocked the shorn and blinded slave?
The heart has needs beyond the head,
And, starving in the plenitude
Of strange gifts, craves its common food,—
Our human nature's daily bread.