Poietes Apoietes

No hope have I to live a deathless name,
A power immortal in the world of mind,
A sun to light with intellectual flame,
The universal soul of human kind.

Not mine the skill in memorable phrase,
The hidden truths of passion to reveal,
To bring to light the intermingling ways,
By which unconscious motives darkling steal.

To show how forms the sentient heart affect,
How thoughts and feelings mutually combine,
How oft the pure, impassive intellect
Shares the mischances of his mortal shrine.

Nor can I summons from the dark abyss
Of time, the spirit of forgotten things,
Bestow unfading life on transient bliss—
Bid memory live with “healing on its wings.”

Oh give a substance to the haunting shades,
Whose visitation shames the vulgar earth,
Before whose light the ray of morning fades,
And hollow yearning chills the soul of mirth.

I have no charm to renovate the youth
Of old authentic dictates of the heart,—
To wash the wrinkles from the face of Truth,
And out of Nature form creative Art.

Divinest Poesy!—'tis thine to make
Age young—youth old—to baffle tyrant Time,
From antique strains the hoary dust to shake,
And with familiar grace to crown new rhyme.

Long have I loved thee—long have loved in vain,
Yet large the debt my spirit owes to thee,
Thou wreath'd'st my first hours in a rosy chain,
Rocking the cradle of my infancy.

The lovely images of earth and sky
From thee I learn'd within my soul to treasure;
And the strong magic of thy minstrelsy
Charms the world's tempest to a sweet, sad measure.

Nor Fortune's spite—nor hopes that once have been—
Hopes which no power of Fate can give again,—
Not the sad sentence—that my life must wean
From dear domestic joys—nor all the train.

Of pregnant ills—and penitential harms
That dog the rear of youth unwisely wasted,
Can dim the lustre of thy stainless charms,
Or sour the sweetness that in thee I tasted.
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