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Breathing light against thy face,
With a half-glance upon the sky
He spake of beauty: that the dull
Saw no divinity in grass,
Life in dead stones, or spirit in air;
Then looking as 'twere in a glass, .
He smoothed his chin and sleeked his hair,
And said the earth was beautiful.
Most delicately hour by hour
The poet in a golden clime was born,
With golden stars above; Dowered with the hate of hate, the scorn of scorn, The love of love.
He saw through life and death, through good and ill,
He saw through his own soul. The marvel of the everlasting will, An open scroll,
Before him lay: with echoing feet he threaded
The secret'st walks of fame:
Like Indian reeds blown from his silver tongue,
From Calpe unto Caucasus they sung,
And vagrant melodies the winds which bore
Them earthward till they lit;
The fruitful wit,
Cleaving, took root, and springing forth anew
Where'er they fell, behold,
A flower all gold,
And bravely furnished all abroad to fling
The winged shafts of truth, To throng with stately blooms the breathing spring
Of Hope and Youth.
So many minds did gird their orbs with beams,
Though one did fling the fire.
Of high desire.
Thus truth was multiplied on truth, the world
Like one great garden showed, And through the wreaths of floating dark upcurled
Rare sunrise flowed.
And Freedom reared in that august sunrise
Her beautiful bold brow,
Melted like snow.
There was no blood upon her maiden robes
Sunned by those orient skies;
Of her keen eyes
And in her raiment's hem was traced in flame
Wisdom, a name to shake
And when she spake,
Her words did gather thunder as they ran,
Which follows it, riving the spirit of man,
So was their meaning to her words. No sword
But one poor poet's scroll, and with his word
THE POET'S MIND.
Vex not thou the poet's mind
With thy shallow wit:
For thou canst not fathom it.
All the place is holy ground;
Come not here.
It would fall to the ground if you came in.
In the middle leaps a fountain
With a low melodious thunder;
From the brain of the purple mountain
Which stands in the distance yonder: It springs on a level of bowery lawn, And the mountain draws it from Heaven above, And it sings a song of undying love; And yet, though its voice be so clear and full, You never would hear it—your ears are so dull; So keep where you are: you are foul with sin; It would shrink to the earth if you came in.
THE DYING SWAN.
The plain was grassy, wild and bare,
An under-roof of doleful gray.
And loudly did lament.
Ever the weary wind went on,
And took the reed-tops as it went.
Some blue peaks in the distance rose,