« PreviousContinue »
OR THE POET'S FORETHOUGHT.
Of Prometheus, how undaunted
Beautiful is the tradition
Of that flight through heavenly portals, The old classic superstition Of the theft and the transmission
Of the fire of the Immortals!
First the deed of noble daring,
Born of heavenward aspiration, Then the fire with mortals sharing, Then the vulture,—the despairing Cry of pain on crags Caucasian. All is but a symbol painted
Of the Poet, Prophet, Seer;
Making nations nobler, freer.
In their feverish exultations,
In their triumph and their yearning,
Shall it, then, be unavailing,
All this toil for human culture? Through the cloud-rack, dark and trailing, Must they see above them sailing O'er life's barren crags the vulture?
Such a fate as this was Dante's,
By defeat and exile maddened;
But the glories so transcendent
That around their memories cluster,
All the melodies mysterious,
Through the dreary darkness chaunted;
Words that whispered, songs that haunted!
All the soul in rapt suspension,
All the quivering, palpitating Chords of life in utmost tension, With the fervor of invention,
With the rapture of creating!
Ah, Prometheus! heaven-scaling!
In such hours of exultation
Bound the cloudy crags Caucasian! Though to all there is not given
Strength for such sublime endeavor,
Yet all bards, whose hearts unblighted
Honor and believe the presage, Hold aloft their torches lighted, Gleaming through the realms benighted, As they onward bear the message!
THE LADDEK OF ST. AUGUSTINE.
Saint Augustine! well hast thou said, That of our vices we can frame
A ladder, if we will but tread
Beneath our feet each deed of shame!
All common things, eacn day's events,
Our pleasures and our discontents,