When I have Fears That I May Cease to Be
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When I have fears that I may cease to be Before my pen has gleaned my teeming brain,
Before high-pilèd books, in charactery, Hold like rich garners the full ripened grain;
When I behold, upon the night’s starred face, Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And feel that I may never live to trace Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
Of unreflecting love—then on the shore Never have relish in the faery power
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think Till love and fame to nothingness do sink.
October 31, 1795 - February 23, 1821
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