III. Nature
XXIII. The Balloon.

YOU've seen balloons set, haven't you?
        So stately they ascend
It is as swans discarded you
        For duties diamond.

Their liquid feet go softly out
        Upon a sea of blond;
They spurn the air as 't were too mean
        For creatures so renowned.

Their ribbons just beyond the eye,
        They struggle some for breath,
And yet the crowd applauds below;
        They would not encore death.

The gilded creature strains and spins,
        Trips frantic in a tree,
Tears open her imperial veins
        And tumbles in the sea.

The crowd retire with an oath
        The dust in streets goes down,
And clerks in counting-rooms observe,
        ''T was only a balloon.'