William Ellery Channing
From: A Poet's Hope - Poem by William Ellery Channing
Lady, there is a hope that all men have,
Some mercy for their faults, a grassy place
To rest in, and a flower-strewn, gentle grave;
Another hope which purifies our race,
That when that fearful bourn forever past,
They may find rest, - and rest so long to last.
I seek it not, I ask no rest forever,
My path is onward to the farthest shores, -
Upbear me in your arms, unceasing river,
That from the soul's clear fountain swiftly pours,
Motionless not, until the end is won,
Which now I feel hath scarcely felt the sun.
To feel, to know, to soar unlimited,
'Mid throngs of light-winged angels sweeping far,
And pore upon the realms unvisited,
That tesselate the unseen unthought star,
To be the thing that now I feebly dream
Flashing within my faintest, deepest gleam.
Ah, caverns of my soul! how thick your shade,
Where flows that life by which I faintly see, -
Wave your bright torches, for I need your aid,
Golden-eyed demons of my ancestry!
Your son though blinded hath a light within,
A heavenly fire which ye from suns did win.
O Time! O Death! I clasp you in my arms,
For I can soothe an infinite cold sorrow,
And gaze contented on your icy charms,
And that wild snow-pile which we call to-morrow;
Sweep on, O soft, and azure-lidded sky,
Earth's waters to your gentle gaze reply.
I am not earth-born, though I here delay;
Hope's child, I summon infiniter powers;
And laugh to see the mild and sunny day
Smile on the shrunk and thin autumnal hours;
I laugh, for hope hath happy place with me,
If my bark sinks, 'tis to another sea.
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