The Poet's World

Bright World! too beautiful for human eye,
Creation of poetic thought, in vain
I seek thee here. Thou bendest far away
Thy airy orbit. Thine are other suns,
And other stars,—a brightness all thy own,
A day self-lighted, and thy magic night
Is but a veil o'er day. I seek thee here,
When morning lights the east, and tips with gems
Deep set in waving gold, high mountain-peak,
Then tower and tree, and over field and grove
Pours out a flood of pearls, and sheets the sea
With liquid flame;—I seek thee, when at noon
High on his throne, the visible lord of light
Rides in his fullest blaze, and dashes wide
Thick flashes from his wheels;—I seek thee, too,
When twilight shades the meadow, and the hills
Alone are lighted,—when the sky above
Smiles with a fading beauty, and below
Uncertain floats the plain,—nor less when night,
Clad in her sable robe, sits silently
Above the slumbering earth, and through the vast,
Immeasurable darkness, shadowy forms
Unbidden come and go;—I seek thee here,
And yet I find thee not. In all its change
Of time and season,—all its shifting scenes
Of sun and storm,—of life new bursting forth
In blossomy spring, vigorous in manly pride,
Or ripe for harvest,—all of high and bright,
Deep and obscure,—the clear, expanded arch
Broad sweeping o'er us, or with pictured wreaths
Hung festively at dawn, or heaving forth
Black, billowy mountains, like a chain of Alps
Uplifted into heaven,—wide forest glooms
Far stretching into night, and yawning caves
Where the void infinite opens,—still retreats
Low under sheltering woods, and shady banks
Hollowed in coves, where fountains welling out
Freshen the turf and flowers;—in all its change
Earth holds thee not. Thine is a fuller growth
Of beauty,—thine the genial life that springs
From the o'erteeming mind, and heightens all
That even here seems glorious. Man, who walks
In dignity and grace,—heroic pride,
Or yielding loveliness,—earth's angel erst,
Radiant and pure,—now sad and dimly fair,
Even when brightest,—Man is but the shade
Of thy Humanity,—such heavenly forms,
As float amid the stars, and dwell enthroned
In light unstained. Thou risest to the eye
Of solitary thought, as from the depths
Of mountain valleys, when the level ray
First paints the aerial rose, uprolling clouds
Swell into towering peaks, and glitter bright
With all the glow of dawn,—intenser far
In brightness,—more magnificent and vast
In thy extension, and thy several hues
And shapes purer and fairer. Mind in thee
Reveals its heavenly spring,—in thee it tells
Its godlike birth,—not from the trivial play
Of blended atoms, but a spiritual flame
Warming and kindling into higher life
Our perishable frames, here poor and weak,
The creatures of decay, obscuring oft
Its living beams, and even in dim eclipse
Quenching its orb,—and yet the eye within
Still gazes on thee, through the gathered mist
Of evil passions, sees thee rolling free
In thy unclouded track, and at the sight
Hope springs and hurries to thee.
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