Treasure Island

Henry David Thoreau

(12 July 1817 – 6 May 1862 / Concord, Massachusetts)

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Inspiration


Whate'er we leave to God, God does,
And blesses us;
The work we choose should be our own,
God leaves alone.

If with light head erect I sing,
Though all the Muses lend their force,
From my poor love of anything,
The verse is weak and shallow as its source.

But if with bended neck I grope
Listening behind me for my wit,
With faith superior to hope,
More anxious to keep back than forward it;

Making my soul accomplice there
Unto the flame my heart hath lit,
Then will the verse forever wear--
Time cannot bend the line which God hath writ.

Always the general show of things
Floats in review before my mind,
And such true love and reverence brings,
That sometimes I forget that I am blind.

But now there comes unsought, unseen,
Some clear divine electuary,
And I, who had but sensual been,
Grow sensible, and as God is, am wary.

I hearing get, who had but ears,
And sight, who had but eyes before,
I moments live, who lived but years,
And truth discern, who knew but learning's lore.

I hear beyond the range of sound,
I see beyond the range of sight,
New earths and skies and seas around,
And in my day the sun doth pale his light.

A clear and ancient harmony
Pierces my soul through all its din,
As through its utmost melody--
Farther behind than they, farther within.

More swift its bolt than lightning is,
Its voice than thunder is more loud,
It doth expand my privacies
To all, and leave me single in the crowd.

It speaks with such authority,
With so serene and lofty tone,
That idle Time runs gadding by,
And leaves me with Eternity alone.

Now chiefly is my natal hour,
And only now my prime of life;
Of manhood's strength it is the flower,
'Tis peace's end and war's beginning strife.

It comes in summer's broadest noon,
By a grey wall or some chance place,
Unseasoning Time, insulting June,
And vexing day with its presuming face.

Such fragrance round my couch it makes,
More rich than are Arabian drugs,
That my soul scents its life and wakes
The body up beneath its perfumed rugs.

Such is the Muse, the heavenly maid,
The star that guides our mortal course,
Which shows where life's true kernel's laid,
Its wheat's fine flour, and its undying force.

She with one breath attunes the spheres,
And also my poor human heart,
With one impulse propels the years
Around, and gives my throbbing pulse its start.

I will not doubt for evermore,
Nor falter from a steadfast faith,
For thought the system be turned o'er,
God takes not back the word which once He saith.

I will not doubt the love untold
Which not my worth nor want has bought,
Which wooed me young, and woos me old,
And to this evening hath me brought.

My memory I'll educate
To know the one historic truth,
Remembering to the latest date
The only true and sole immortal youth.

Be but thy inspiration given,
No matter through what danger sought,
I'll fathom hell or climb to heaven,
And yet esteem that cheap which love has bought.
___________________

Fame cannot tempt the bard
Who's famous with his God,
Nor laurel him reward
Who has his Maker's nod.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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Read poems about / on: faith, inspiration, god, june, truth, alone, flower, memory, strength, sometimes, star, war, summer, light, work, peace, heaven, hope, sun, remember

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Comments about this poem (Inspiration by Henry David Thoreau )

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  • Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (4/18/2014 9:41:00 AM)

    Surrendering to the god and the god given capability is a good example of total surrender to the allmighty and the poet selected the theme in its correct spirit and very good to recite and study and also understand in positive way. (Report) Reply

  • * Sunprincess * (12/27/2013 12:40:00 AM)

    ...........a very inspiring poem...great lines...

    ~Be but thy inspiration given,
    No matter through what danger sought,
    I'll fathom hell or climb to heaven,
    And yet esteem that cheap which love has bought. ~ (Report) Reply

  • Barbara Stump (11/23/2013 5:32:00 AM)

    Beauty shines from deep within,
    from the depth of the heart's soul, where it began. bravo
    the poetess/Barbara (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (12/27/2010 6:16:00 PM)

    Thoreau seems to be contrasting the muse that is God, with 'those old nine which rhymers invocate' - he is saying that where God is the inspiration then the line is unalterable, all else is second best. Herman Chiu is right - Thoreau goes deep into the heart and soul of the interaction of Muse with be-Mused! Whether Thoreau is right to say the Muse is God is another matter, but the poem is deeply stirring in the way it shows so clearly such profound insight. (Report) Reply

  • Herman Chiu (12/27/2009 6:32:00 PM)

    It is a rare and wonderful thing that someone will write so accurately about the way humans interact with our maker, or from a non-believer's perspective, the world.
    I am honored and delighted to have read this. (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (12/27/2009 12:42:00 AM)

    Without interest even we are earnestly working on a thing it will not be so lively and real in stuff! But inspiration makes all wonderful in things we do as wonderful as things happening in Nature; it's all God's will! Nature is unique and inspiring to poets with great zeal that can be seen in poems oozing out wonderful numbers! (Report) Reply

Read all 11 comments »

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