When Homer went from place to place,
The glorious siege reciting
(Of course I presuppose the case
Of reading and of writing),
I’ve little doubt the Bard divine
His letters got from Scio,
Inscribed “Not known,” Ah! me, like mine
From Campo de Estio.
The poet, howsoe’er inspired,
Must brave neglect and danger;
When Philip Massinger expired,
The death-list said “a stranger!”
A stranger! yes, on earth, but let
The poet sing ’laus Deo’!—
Heaven’s glorious summer waits him yet—
God’s “Campo de Estio.”
Had I a wish—’twere this,
that heaven would make
My heart as strong to imitate as love,
That half its weakness it could leave, and take
Some spirit’s strength, by which to soar above,
A lordly eagle mated with a dove.
Strong-will and warm affection, these be mine;
Without the one no dreams has fancy wove,
Without the other soon these dreams decline,
Weak children of the heart, which fade away and pine!
Strong have I been in love, if not in
Affections crowd and people all the past,
And now, even now, they come and haunt me still,
Even from the graves where once my hopes were cast.
But not with spectral features—all aghast—
Come they to fright me; no, with smiles and tears,
And winding arms, and breasts that beat as fast
As once they beat in boyhood’s opening years,
Come the departed shades, whose steps my rapt soul hears.
Youth has passed by, its first warm flush
And now, ’tis nearly noon; yet unsubdued
My heart still kneels and worships, as of yore,
Those twin-fair shapes, the Beautiful and Good!
Valley and mountain, sky and stream, and wood,
And that fair miracle, the human face,
And human nature in its sunniest mood,
Freed from the shade of all things low and base,—
These in my heart still hold their old accustom’d place.
’Tis not with pride, but gratitude,
How beats my heart with all its youthful glow,
How one kind act doth make my bosom swell,
And down my cheeks the sweet, warm, glad tears flow.
Enough of self, enough of me you know,
Kind reader, but if thou wouldst further wend,
With me, this wilderness of weak words thro’,
Let me depict, before the journey end,
One whom methinks thou’lt love, my brother and my friend.
Ah! wondrous is the lot of him who stands
A Christian Priest, with a Christian fane,
And binds with pure and consecrated hands,
Round earth and heaven, a festal, flower chain;
Even as between the blue arch and the main,
A circling western ring of golden light
Weds the two worlds, or as the sunny rain
Of April makes the cloud and clay unite,
Thus links the Priest of God the dark world and the bright.