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And thou shalt love it only as the nest Whence glory-wingëd things to Heaven

have flown : To the great Soul alone are all things

known ; Present and future are to her as past, While she in glorious madness doth

forecast That perfect bud, which seems a flower

full-blown To each new Prophet, and yet always

opes Fuller and fuller with each day and hour, Heartening the soul with odor of fresh

hopes, And longings high, and gushings of

wide power, Yet never is or shall be fully blown Save in the forethought of the Eternal


Of what in Woman is to reverence ; Thy clear heart, fresh as e'er was forest

flower, Still opens more to me its beauteous

dower;But let praise hush, — Love asks no

evidence To prove itself well-placed ; we know

not whence It gleans the straws that thatch its hum

ble bower: We can but say we found it in the

heart, Spring of all sweetest thoughts, arch foe

of blame, Sower of flowers in the dusty mart, Pure vestal of the poet's holy flame, This is enough, and we have done our

part If we but keep it spotless as it came.





Far 'yond this narrow parapet of Time, With eyes uplift, the poet's soul should

look Into the Endless Promise, nor should

brook One prying doubt to shake his faith

sublime ; To him the earth is ever in her prime And dewiness of morning; he can see Good lying hid, from all eternity, Within the teeming womb of sin and

crime ; His soul should not be cramped by any

bar, His nobleness should be so Godlike

high, That his least deed is perfect as a star, His common look majestic as the sky, And allo'erflooded with a light from far, Undinimed by clouds of weak mortality.

Our love is not a fading, earthly

flower: Its wingëd seed dropped down from

Paradise, And, nursed by day and night, by sun

and shower, Doth momently to fresher beauty

rise : To us the leafless autumn is not

bare, Nor winter's rattling boughs lack lusty

green. Our summer hearts make summer's

fulness, where No leaf, or bud, or blossom may be

seen: For nature's life in love's deep life doth

lie, Love, - whose forgetfulness is beauty's

death, Whose mystic key these cells of Thou

and I Into the infinite freedom oreneth, And makes the body's dark and narrow

grate The wind-flung leaves of Heaven's

palace-gate. 1842.


TO M. O. S. Mary, since first I knew thee, to this

hour, My love hath deepened, with my wiser




Fanatic named, and fool, yet well con

tent So he could be the nearer to God's

heart, And feel its solemn pulses sending

blood Through all the wide-spread veins of

endless good.



THESE rugged, wintry days I scarce

could bear, Did I not know, that, in the early spring, When wild March winds upon their

errands sing, Thou wouldst return, bursting on this

still air, Like those same winds, when, startled

from their lair, They hunt up violets, and free swift

brooks, From icy cares, even as thy clear looks Bid my heart bloom, and sing, and

break all care : When drops with welcome rain the

April day, My flowers shall find their April in Save there the rain in dreamy clouds As loath to fall out of those happy skies; Yet sure, my love, thou art most like to

May, That comes with steady sun when April

dies. 1843


thine eyes,

doth stay,

They pass me by like shadows, crowds

on crowds, Dim ghosts of men, that hover to and Hugging their bodies round them like

thin shrouds Wherein their souls were buried long

ago : They trampled on their youth, and

faith, and love, They cast their hope of human-kind

away, With Heaven's clear messages they

madly strove, And conquered, - and their spirits

turned to clay : Lo ! how they wander round the world, their

grave, Whose ever-gaping maw by such is fed, Gibbering at living men, and idly rave, “We,only, truly live, but ye are dead.” Alas! poor fools, the anointed eye

may trace A dead soul's epitaph in every face !




He stood upon the world's broad

threshold ; wide The din of battle and of slaughter rose; He saw God stand upon the weaker

side, That sank in seeming loss before its

foes ; Many there were who made great haste

and sold Unto the cunning enemy their swords, He scorned their gifts of fame, and

power, and gold, And, underneath their soft and flowery

words, Heard the cold serpent hiss; therefore

he went And humbly joined him to the weaker part,

I GRIEVE not that ripe Knowledge

takes away The charm that Nature to my child

hood wore, For, with that insight, cometh, day by

day, A greater bliss than wonder was before ; The real doth not clip the poet's

wings, To win the secret of a weed's plain heart

Reveals some clew to spiritual things, And stumbling guess becomes firm

footed art: Flowers are not flowers unto the poet's

eyes, Their beauty thrills him by an inward He knows that outward seemings are

but lies, Or, at the most, but earthly shadows,

whence The soul that looks within for truth

may guess The presence of some wondrous heav


That sorrow in our happy world must be Love's deepest spokesman and inter

preter? But, as a mother feels her child first

stir Under her heart, so felt I instantly Deep in my soul another bond to thee Thrill with that life we saw depart from

sense :

her ;

O mother of our angel child ! twice

dear ! Death knits as well as parts, and still,

I wis, Her tender radiance shall infold us

here, Even as the light, borne up by inward

bliss, Threads the void glooms of space

without a fear, To print on farthest stars her pitying



and pen,

XXVI. TO J. R. GIDDINGS. GIDDINGS, far rougher names than

thine have grown Smoother than honey on the lips of men; And thou shalt aye be honorably

known, As one who bravely used his tongue As best befits a freeman,

- even for those, To whom our Law's unblushing front

denies A right to plead against the life-long Which are the Negro's glimpse of

Freedom's skies : Fear nothing, and hope all things, as

the Right Alone may do securely ; every hour The thrones of Ignorance and ancient

Night Lose somewhat of their long usurpëd

power, And Freedom's lightest word can make

them shiver With a base dread that clings to them



WHETHER my heart hath wiser grown

or not, In these three years, since I to thee

inscribed, Mine own betrothed, the firstlings of

my muse, Poor windfalls of unripe experience, Young buds plucked hastily by child

ish hands Not patient to await more full-blown

flowers, At least it hath seen more of life and

men, And pondered more, and grown a shade

more sad; Yet with no loss of hope or settled

trust In the benignness of that Providence, Which shapes from out our elements

awry The grace and order that we wonder at, The mystic harmony of right and

wrong, Both working out His wisdom and our

good : A trust, Beloved, chiefly learned of thee, Who hast that gift of patient tenderness, The instinctive wisdom of a woman's


XXVII. I THOUGHT our love at full, but I did ere, Joy's wreath drooped o'er mine eyes;

I could not see

They tell us that our land was made

for song, With its huge rivers and sky-piercing

peaks, Its sealike lakes and mighty cataracts, Its forests vast and hoar, and prairies

wide, And mounds that tell of wondrous

tribes extinct. But Poesy springs not from rocks and

woods; Her womb and cradle are the human

heart, And she can find a nobler theme for

song In the most loathsome man that blasts

the sight Than in the broad expanse of sea and

shore Between the frozen deserts of the poles. All nations have their message from on

high, Each the inessiah of some central

thought, For the fulfilment and delight of Man: One has to teach that labor is divine; Another Freedom; and another Mind; And all, that God is open-eyed and

just, The happy centre and calm heart of all.

Subject alone to Order's higher law. What cares the Russian serf or South

ern slave Though we should speak as man spake

never yet Of gleaming Hudson's broad magnifi

cence, Or green Niagara's never-ending roar? Our country hath a gospel of her own To preach and practise before all the

world, The freedom and divinity of man, The glorious claims of human brother

hood, Which to pay nobly, as a freeman

should, Gains the sole wealth that will not fly

away, And the soul's fealty to none but God. These are realities, which make the

shows Of outward Nature, be they ne'er so

grand, Seem small, and worthless, and con

temptible. These are the mountain-summits for

our bards, Which stretch far upward into heaven

itself, And give such wide-spread and exultOf hope, and faith, and onward des

tiny, That shrunk Parnassus to a molehill

dwindles. Our new Atlantis, like a morning-star,

a Silvers the murk face of slow-yielding

Night, The herald of a fuller truth than yet Hath gleamed upon the upraised face

of Man Since the earth glittered in her stain

ing view

Are, then, our woods, our mountains,

and our streams, Needful to teach our poets how to

sing? O maiden rare, far other thoughts were

ours, When we have sat by ocean's foaming

marge, And watched the waves leap roaring on

the rocks, Than young Leander and his Hero had, Gazing from Sestos to the other shore. The moon looks down and ocean wor

ships her, Stars rise and set, and seasons come

less prime,

and go

Even as they did in Homer's elder

time, But we behold them not with Grecian

eyes : Then they were types of beauty and of

strength, But now of freedom, unconfined and


Of a more glorious suprise than of old Drew wondrous melodies from Mem

non huge, Yea, draws them still, though now he

sits waist-deep In the ingulfing flood of whirling sand, And looks across the wastes of endless

gray, Sole wreck, where once his hundred

gated Thebes Pained with her mighty hum the calm,

blue heaven:

Shall" the dull stone pay grateful ori

sons, And we till noonday bar the splendor

out, Lest it reproach and chide our sluggard

hearts, Warm-nestled in the down of Preju

dice, And be content, though clad with an

gel-wings, Close-clipped, to hop about from perch

to perch, In paltry cages of dead men's dead

thoughts? O, rather, like the skylark, soar and

sing, And let our gushing songs befit the

dawu And sunrise, and the yet unshaken dew Brimming the chalice of each full-blown

hope, Whose blithe front turns to greet the

growing day ! Never had poets such high call before, Never can poets hope for higher one, And, if they be but faithful to their trust, Earth will remember them with love

and joy, And O, far better, God will not forget. For he who settles Freedom's prin

ciples Writes the death-warrant of all ty

ranny ; Who speaks the truth stabs Falsehood

to the heart, And his mere word makes despots trem

ble more Than ever Brutus with his dagger

could. Wait for no hints from waterfalls or

woods, Nor dream that tales of red men, brute

and fierce, Repay the finding of this Western

World, Or needed half the globe to give them

birth : Spirit supreme of Freedom! not for

this Did great Columbus tame his eagle soul To jostle with the daws that perch in

courts : Not for this, friendless, on an unknown


Coping with mad waves and more mu

tinous spirits, Battled he with the dreadful ache at

heart Which tempts, with devilish subtleties

of doubt, The hermit of that loneliest solitude, The silent desert of a great New

Thought; Though loud Niagara were to-day

struck dumb, Yet would this cataract of boiling life Rush plunging on and on to endless

deeps, And utter thunder till the world shall

cease, A thunder worthy of the poet's song, And which alone can fill it with true

life. The high evangel to our country granted Could make apostles, yea, with tongues

of fire, Of hearts half-darkened back again to

clay! 'T is the soul only that is national, And he who pays true loyalty to that Alone can claim the wreath of patriot


Beloved ! if I wander far and oft From that which I believe, and feel,

and know, Thou wilt forgive, not with a sorrow

ing heart, But with a strengthened hope of better

things ; Knowing that I, though often blind

and false To those I love, and O, more false than

all Unto myself, have been most true to

thee, And that whoso in one thing hath been

true Can be as true in all. Therefore thy

hope May yet not prove unfruitful, and thy

love Meet, day by day, with less unworthy

thanks, Whether, as now, we journey hand in

hand, Or, parted in the body, yet are one In spirit and the love of huly things.

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