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Ralph Waldo Emerson
Emerson Poems: A-C
Emerson Poems: D-G
Emerson Poems: H-O
Emerson Poems: P-Z
Loss and Gain
Ode to William H. Channing
Ode To Beauty
Texts : Early Emerson Poems : Emerson Poems: H-O : HERMIONE
On a mound an Arab lay,
And sung his sweet regrets,
And told his amulets;
The summer bird
His sorrow heard,
And when he heaved a sigh profound
The sympathetic swallows swept the ground.
If it be as they said, she was not fair;
Beauty's not beautiful to me,
But sceptred Genius aye inorbed,
Culminating in her sphere.
This Hermione absorbed
The lustre of the land and ocean,
Hills and islands, vine and tree,
In her form and motion.
I ask no bauble miniature,
Nor ringlets dead
Shorn from her comely head,
Now that morning not disdains,—
Mountains and the misty plains—
Her colossal portraiture:
They her heralds be,
Steeped in her quality,
And singers of her fame,
Who is their muse and dame.
Higher, dear swallows, mind not what I say.
Ah! heedless how the weak are strong,
Say, was it just
In thee to frame, in me to trust,
Thou to the Syrian couldst belong?
I am of a lineage
That each for each doth fast engage.
In old Bassora's schools I seemed
Hermit vowed to books and gloom,
Ill-bested for gay bridegroom:
I was by thy much redeemed;
When thy meteor glances came,
We talked at large of worldly Fate,
And drew truly every trait.
Once I dwelt apart,
Now I live with all;
As shepherd's lamp on far hill side,
Seems, by the traveller espied,
A door into the mountain heart,
So didst thou quarry and unlock
Highways for me through the rock.
Now deceived thou wanderest
In strange lands, unblest,
And my kindred come to soothe me,
South wind is my next of blood;
He is come through fragrant wood,
Drugged with spice from climates warm,
And in every twinkling glade,
And twilight nook,
Unveils thy form:
Out of the forest way
Forth paced it yesterday,
And, when I sat by the water-course,
Watching the daylight fade,
It throbbed up from the brook.
River, and rose, and crag, and bird,
Frost, and sun, and eldest night
To me their aid preferred,
To me their comfort plight:
"Courage! we are thine allies;
And with this hint be wise,
The chains of kind
The distant bind:
Deed thou doest, she must do,
Above her will, be true;
And, in her strict resort
To winds and waterfalls,
And autumn's sun-lit festivals,
To music, and to music's thought,
She shall find thee, and be found.
Follow not her flying feet,
Come to us herself to meet."
from: Emerson, Ralph Waldo. Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson.
York, Boston, Thomas Y. Crowell & Company: 1899. Introduction by Nathan
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