The Imagination's Pride

Be not too wildly amorous of the far,
Nor lure thy fantasy to its utmost scope.
Read by a taper when the needling star
Burns red with menace in heaven's midnight cope.
Friendly thy body: guard its solitude.
Sure shelter is thy heart. It once had rest
Where founts miraculous thy lips endewed,
Yet nought loomed further than thy mother's breast.

O brave adventure! Ay, at danger slake
Thy thirst, lest life in thee should, sickening, quail;
But not toward nightmare goad a mind awake,
Nor to forbidden horizons bend thy sail—
Seductive outskirts whence in trance prolonged
Thy gaze, at stretch of what is sane-secure,
Dreams out on steeps by shapes demoniac thronged
And vales wherein alone the dead endure.

Nectarous those flowers, yet with venom sweet.
Thick-juiced with poison hang those fruits that shine
Where sick phantasmal moonbeams brood and beat,
And dark imaginations ripe the vine.
Bethink thee: every enticing league thou wend
Beyond the mark where life its bound hath set
Will lead thee at length where human pathways end
And the dark enemy spreads his maddening net.

Comfort thee, comfort thee. Thy Father knows
How wild man's ardent spirit, fainting, yearns
For mortal glimpse of death's immortal rose,
The garden where the invisible blossom burns.
Humble thy trembling knees; confess thy pride;
Be weary. Oh, whithersoever thy vaunting rove,
His deepest wisdom harbours in thy side,
In thine own bosom hides His utmost love.
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