What is Solitude?

Not in the shadowy wood,

Not in the crag-hung glen,

Not where the echoes brood

In caves untrod by men;

Not by the black seashore,

Where barren surges break,

Not on the mountain hoar,

Not by the breezeless lake;

Not on the desert plain

Where man hath never stood,

Whether on isle or main —

Not there is solitude.

Birds are in woodland bowers;

Voices in lonely dells:

Streams to the listening hours

Talk in earth's secret cells;

Over the gray-ribbed sand

Breathe Ocean's frothy lips;

Over the still lake's strand

The wild flower toward it dips;

Pluming the mountain's crest

Life tosses in its pines,

Coursing the desert's breast

Life in the steed's mane shines.

Leave — if thou wouldst be lonely —

Leave Nature for the crowd;

Seek there for one — one only

With kindred mind endowed!

There — as with Nature erst

Closely thou wouldst commune —

The deep soul-music nursed

In either heart, attune!

Heart-wearied thou wilt own,

Vainly that phantom wooed,

That thou at last hast known

What is true Solitude!

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