Genius Walking

Slumber's heavy chain hath bound thee,—
Where is now thy fire?
Feebler wings are gathering round thee,—
Shall they hover higher?
Can no power, no spell recall thee
From inglorious dreams?
O, could glory so appall thee
With his burning beams?

Thine was once the highest pinion
In the midway air;
With a proud and sure dominion,
Thou didst upward bear:
Like the herald, winged with lightning,
From the Olympian throne,
Ever mounting, ever brightening,
Thou wert there alone.

Where the pillared props of heaven
Glitter with eternal snows,
Where no darkling clouds are driven,
Where no fountain flows,—
Far above the rolling thunder,
When the surging storm
Rent its sulphury folds asunder,
We beheld thy form.

O, what rare and heavenly brightness
Flowed around thy plumes,
As a cascade's foamy whiteness
Lights a cavern's glooms;—
Wheeling through the shadowy ocean,
Like a shape of light,
With serene and placid motion,
Thou wert dazzling bright.

From that cloudless region stooping,
Downward thou didst rush,
Not with pinion faint and drooping,
But the tempest's gush;—
Up again undaunted soaring,
Thou didst pierce the cloud,
When the warring winds were roaring
Fearfully and loud.

Where is now that restless longing
After higher things?
Come they not, like visions, thronging
On their airy wings?
Why should not their glow enchant thee
Upward to their bliss?
Surely danger cannot daunt thee
From a heaven like this.

But thou slumberest;—faint and quivering
Hangs thy ruffled wing,
Like a dove's in winter shivering,
Or a feebler thing.
Where is now thy might and motion,
Thy imperial flight?
Where is now thy heart's devotion,
Where thy spirit's light?

Hark! his rustling plumage gathers
Closer to his side,
Close, as when the storm-bird weathers
Ocean's hurrying tide;—
Now his nodding beak is steady,
Wide his burning eye,—
Now his opening wings are ready,
And his aim—how high!

Now he curves his neck, and proudly—
Now is stretched for flight;—
Hark! his wings—they thunder loudly,
And their flash—how bright!
Onward—onward, over mountain,
Through the rack and storm,
Now like sunset over fountain
Flits his glancing form.

Glorious bird! thy dream has left thee,
Thou hast reached thy heaven;—
Lingering slumber hath not reft thee
Of the glory given;—
With a bold, a fearless pinion,
On thy starry road,
None, to fame's supreme dominion,
Mightier ever trode.
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