Dost thou look back on what hath been, As some divinely gifted man, Whose life in low estate began And on a simple village green;
Who breaks his birth's invidious bar, And grasps the skirts of happy chance, And breasts the blows of circumstance, And grapples with his evil star;
Who makes by force his merit known And lives to clutch the golden keys, To mould a mighty state's decrees, And shape the whisper of the throne;
And moving up from high to higher, Becomes on Fortune's crowning slope The pillar of a people's hope, The centre of a world's desire;
Yet feels, as in a pensive dream, When all his active powers are still, A distant dearness in the hill, A secret sweetness in the stream,
The limit of his narrower fate, While yet beside its vocal springs He play'd at counsellors and kings, With one that was his earliest mate;
Who ploughs with pain his native lea And reaps the labour of his hands, Or in the furrow musing stands; "Does my old friend remember me?"
-Alfred Lord Tennyson, In Memoriam A. H. H., Canto LXIV