Our lives are like this many-footed thing:
We strain out seaward, but ashore we stand,
Caught by the foot, and sinking deep in sand;
And ever and anon a snow-white wing
Gleams past, to sadden us. We fain would spring
To follow. Airs from Heaven, about us fanned,
Move us no more; but some discordant band
May play and please, while fools in motley sing.
Ah! well for us, if but a little way
Some child or aged man we safely bear
Upon our shoulders o’er the flowing sea;
And happy, if by us, one seems to be
Pacing a steady deck, without a fear,
Out toward the deeps, beyond our prison bay.
(Sonnets Round the Coast, p. 132)