Who is the Poet?

Who is the Poet? Who the man whose lines
Live in the souls of men like household words?
Whose thought, spontaneous as the song of birds,
With eldest truth coeval, still combines
With each day's product, and like morning shines,
Exempt from age? 'Tis he, and only he,
Who knows that Truth is free, and only free,—
That Virtue, acting in the strict confines
Of positive law, instructs the infant spirit
In its best strength, and proves its mere demerit
Rooted in earth, yet tending to the sky,—
With patient hope surveys the narrow bound,
Culls every flower that loves the lowly ground,
And fraught with sweetness, wings her way on high.
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