Genius Slumbering

He sleeps, forgetful of his once bright fame;
He has no feeling of the glory gone;
He has no eye to catch the mounting flame,
That once in transport drew his spirit on;
He lies in dull oblivious dreams, nor cares
Who the wreathed laurel bears.

And yet not all forgotten sleeps he there;
There are who still remember how he bore
Upward his daring pinions, till the air
Seemed living with the crown of light he wore;
There are who, now his early sun has set,
Nor can, nor will forget.

He sleeps, — and yet around the sightless eye,
And the pressed lip, a darkened glory plays!
Though the high powers in dull oblivion lie,
There hovers still the light of other days;
Deep in that soul a spirit, not of earth,
Still struggles for its birth.

He will not sleep for ever, but will rise
Fresh to more daring labors: — now, even now,
As the close shrouding mist of morning flies,
The gathered slumber leaves his lifted brow;
From his half-opened eye, in fuller beams,
His wakened spirit streams.

Yes, he will break his sleep. The spell is gone,
The deadly charm departed. See him fling
Proudly his fetters by, and hurry on,
Keen as the famished eagle darts her wing;
The goal is still before him, and the prize
Still woos his eager eyes.

He rushes forth to conquer: — shall they take,
They, who with feebler pace still kept their way,
When he forgot the contest — shall they take,
Now he renews the race, the victor's bay?
Still let them strive, — when he collects his might,
He will assert his right.

The spirit cannot always sleep in dust,
Whose essence is ethereal, — they may try
To darken and degrade it, — it may rust
Dimly awhile, but cannot wholly die;
And when it wakens, it will send its fire
Intenser forth, and higher.
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