Thomas Hood (1789-1845 / London / England)
The Poet's Portion
What is a mine—a treasury—a dower—
A magic talisman of mighty power?
A poet's wide possession of the earth.
He has th' enjoyment of a flower's birth
Before its budding—ere the first red streaks,—
And Winter cannot rob him of their cheeks.
Look—if his dawn be not as other men's!
Twenty bright flushes—ere another kens
The first of sunlight is abroad—he sees
Its golden 'lection of the topmost trees,
And opes the splendid fissures of the morn.
When do his fruits delay, when doth his corn
Linger for harvesting? Before the leaf
Is commonly abroad, in his piled sheaf
The flagging poppies lose their ancient flame.
No sweet there is, no pleasure I can name,
But he will sip it first—before the lees.
'Tis his to taste rich honey,—ere the bees
Are busy with the brooms. He may forestall
June's rosy advent for his coronal;
Before th' expectant buds upon the bough,
Twining his thoughts to bloom upon his brow.
Oh! blest to see the flower in its seed,
Before its leafy presence; for indeed
Leaves are but wings on which the summer flies,
And each thing perishable fades and dies,
Escap'd in thought; but his rich thinkings be
Like overflows of immortality:
So that what there is steep'd shall perish never,
But live and bloom, and be a joy forever.
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