The Lamp


As yonder lamp in my vacated room
With arduous flame disputes the darksome night,
And can, with its involuntary light,
But lifeless things, that near it stand, illume;
Yet all the while it doth itself consume,
And, ere the sun begins its heavenly height
With courier beams that meet the shepherd's sight,
There, whence its life arose, shall be its tomb —

So wastes my light away. Perforce confines
To common things, a limit to its sphere,
It shines on worthless trifles undesign'd
With fainter ray each hour imprison'd here.
Alas! to know that the consuming mind
Shall have its lamp cold, ere the sun appear.

Charles Whitehead, 1804-1862

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