Work without Hope

Lines Composed 21st February 1827

   All Nature seems at work. Slugs leave their lair-   The bees are stirring-birds are on the wing-   And Winter slumbering in the open air,   Wears on his smiling face a dream of Spring!   And I the while, the sole unbusy thing,    Nor honey make, nor pair, nor build, nor sing.    Yet well I ken the banks where amaranths blow,   Have traced the fount whence streams of nectar flow.   Bloom, O ye amaranths! bloom for whom ye may,   For me ye bloom not! Glide, rich streams, away!    With lips unbrightened, wreathless brow, I stroll:   And would you learn the spells that drowse my soul?   Work without Hope draws nectar in a sieve,   And Hope without an object cannot live.