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FAME'S VANITY

BY W. WHITMAN.

O, many a panting, noble heart
   Cherishes in its deep recess
Th' hope to win renown o'er earth
   From Glory's priz'd caress.

And some will reach that envied goal,
   And have their fame known far and wide;
And some will sink unnoted down
   In dark Oblivion's tide.

But I, who many a pleasant scheme
   Do sometimes cull from Fancy's store,
With dreams, such as the youthful dream,
   Of grandeur, love, and power—

Shall I build up a lofty name,
   And seek to have the nations known
What conscious might dwells in the brain
   That throbs aneath this brow?

And have thick countless ranks of men
   Fix upon me their reverent gaze,
And listen to the deafening shouts
   To me that thousands raise?

Thou foolish soul! the very place
   That pride has made for folly's rest;
What thoughts with vanity all rife,
   Fill up this heaving breast!

Fame, O what happiness is lost
   In hot pursuit of that false glare!
Thou, whose drunk votaries die to gain
   A puff of viewless air.

So, never let me more repine,
   Though I live on obscure, unknown,
Though after death unsought may be
   My markless resting stone.

For mighty one and lowly wretch,
   Dull, idiot mind, or teeming sense
Must sleep on the same earthy couch,
   A hundred seasons hence.


Copy-text
Our transcription is based on a photocopy of a microfilm copy of an original issue.

Publication Information
"Fame's Vanity."  The Long Island Democrat 23 October 1839:  [1].  

Whitman Archive ID
per.00023


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