I love this poem on many levels. Most simply perhaps because I associate myself with the idea: My lines and life are free: free as the road, loose as the wind, as large as store. But, as the poet so carefully suggests this is a human paradox. Ultimately, perhaps it is an illusion. Whatever the religious context of this poem, I find that it is a spring board for many other thoughts, and for this reason alone, it amuses the more bizzare thought processes of my mind!
I struck the board, and cried, 'No more.I will abroad.What? Shall I ever sigh and pine?My lines and life are free; free as the road,Loose as the wind, as large as store.Shall I still be in suit?Have I no harvest but a thornTo let me blood and not restoreWhat I have lost with cordial fruit?Sure there was wineBefore my sighs did dry it: there was corn,Before my tears did drown it.Is the year only lost to me?Have I no bays to crown it?No flowers, no garlands gay? all blasted?All wasted?Not so, my heart: but there is fruit,And thou hast hands.Recover all thy sigh blown ageOn double pleasures: leave thy cold disputeof what is fit, and not. Forsake thy cage,Thy rope of sands,Which pretty thoughts have made, and made to theegood cable, to enforce and draw,And be thy law,While thou didst wink and would not see.Awake: take heed,I will abroad.Call in thy Death's head there: tie up thy fears.He that forbearsTo suit and serve his need,Deserves his load.But as I raved and grew more fierce and wildAt every word,Me thoughts I heard one calling, Child:And I replied, My Lord.