Sometimes to entertain themselves,
the men of the crew
Lure upon the deck an unlucky albatross, one of those vast birds of the sea
that follow unwearied the voyage through,
Flying in slow and elegant circles
above the mast.
No sooner have they disentangled him
from their nets
Than this aerial colossus, shorn of his pride,
Goes hobbling pitiably across the planks
and lets His great wings hang
like heavy, useless oars at his side.
How droll is the poor floundering creature,
how limp and weak,
He, but a moment past so lordly,
flying in state!
They tease him; One of them tries
to stick a pipe in his beak;
Another mimics with laughter his odd, lurching gait.
The poet is like that wild inheritor of the cloud,
A rider of storms above the range of arrows and slings;
Exiled on earth, at bay amid the jeering crowd,
He cannot walk for his unmanageable wings.