On first venturing upon a switchback railway

Ballade:

O mortal man, how fleeting is true bliss,
So eager sought, so often seeming found;
An airy sprite at which we catch and miss
When most we seem to grasp her. From the ground
I watched this heavenly chariot wonder-bound,
And when the fat man said, “A ticket is
But threepence,” I could not but think he clowned;
I never thought that I should feel like this.

Was ever man more fooled by avarice
Of joys immortal? On we rush, now round,
Now down a yawning bottomless abyss.
Ye gods, where has my stomach gone? A sound
Of gentle lowing; can it be that hound
Who said he loved it? Yes, by Jove, it is!
And yet small comfort; would I had been drowned
I never thought that I should feel like this.

We slacken; is the nightmare ’bout to cease?
Fool, fool; we find another gulf profound
And hurtle down it. With an asp-like hiss
The woman next me grasps my hair; I ground
Her toes to pulp the last time we went round
A bend, and this is only Nemesis.
All that I ask now is a grass-grown mound;
I never thought that I should feel like this.

Envoi:

Prince, I was once for valour much renowned;
Proves not this deed I was not judged amiss?
And yet I must admit, in honour bound
I never thought that I should feel like this.

School poems