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.'