John Anster

(1793-1868 / Ireland)

The Poet’s Haunt


'Tis beautiful indeed--thro' parted boughs
To see the moving clouds darken the sky,
To mark their many--shifting forms, and tints,
As slow they pass, then see the lively blue
Pure, spotless, like the soul, that hath forgot
Unworthy passions, or, if dimm'd awhile,
Soon shines reclaim'd:--'tis sweet to view that rill,
Stealing thro' moss--grown stones, so playfully
As if it fear'd to soil one starry flower:--

How many a primrose--wreath along its bank
Might I now gather, but methinks the Fay,
Whose little urn supplies this sparkling stream,
Who flings the morning dew--drop on this rose,
Might shun the violated haunt, nor bid
The water, as it drips from stone to stone
Then flows continuous, till some gadding briar
Or wild flower's tuft impede its onward course,
Speak to the ear with soft and pleasant voice,
Like broken music of some oft--heard song
That in the lonely hour we fain would catch,
That blesses now, and now eludes the ear.--

How do I love to lie beneath the shade
Of this broad sycamore! the spirit here
That loves the song oft lingers, when the soul
Lies in that doubtful mood, when thoughts that pass
Across its moveless surface leave no trace,
When Memory sleeps, and Feeling only wakes,
And we but learn from interrupted thought
That we had thought at all--then not in vain
Doth Nature breathe, and Nature's breath is song!
Thou dost not rightly worship POETRY,
To whom there is no music in the leaves
Rustling in ceaseless murmurs, as the winds
Play thro' their boughs--if when the thunders roar,
And the red lightnings roll in orbs of fire,
Or glance in arrowy flight, thou canst but feel
The throb of selfish fear, then seek some fame
Worthier of thy ambition, nor presume
To bow before the shrine of Poetry!
Does thy soul slumber when the rising lark
Pours all his spirit in the full--voic'd song,
A hymn of worship at the Eastern shrine
Of Day's ascending God? and in thy heart
Wakes there no answering music of sweet thoughts
Of such strong power to steal thee from thyself
That even the song of lark, the hum of bee,
All Nature's harmonies of morning joy
Seem, when thou wakest from the holy spell,
But fragments of thy broken meditations,
Or echoes to the minstrelsy within?
If in the silence of the noon--day hour
Thou dost not own serenity of soul,
A spirit, that can love the quietude,
And brood in joy upon the thousand forms
That float unceasingly before its ken;
If, when the robin warbles from her bough
The latest accents of adoring love
To yon fair star, that gilds the twilight trees,
Thou canst not give a moral to her song;
If, when the moon sheds her still sober light
Upon this water, and deludes the eye
With shew of motion, there is in thy heart
No pulse of pleasure;--hence, for ever hence,
Oh shun this bank! it is the POET'S HAUNT!

Submitted: Wednesday, September 22, 2010

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