My Hermitage Poem by Thomas Buchanan Read

My Hermitage

Within a wood, one summer's day,
And in a hollow, ancient trunk,
I shut me from the world away,
To live as lives a hermit monk.

My cell was a ghostly sycamore,
The roots and limbs were dead with age;
Decay had carved the gothic door
Which looked into my hermitage.

My library was large and full,
Where, ever as a hermit plods,
I read until my eyes were dull
With tears; for all those tomes were God's.

The vine that at my doorway swung
Had verses writ on every leaf,
The very songs the bright bees sung
In honey-seeking visits brief—

Not brief--though each stayed never long—
So rapidly they came and went
No pause was left in all their song,
For while they borrowed still they lent.

All day the woodland minstrels sang—
Small feet were in the leaves astir—
And often o'er my doorway rang
THe tap of a blue-winged visiter.

Afar the stately river swayed,
And poured itself in giant swells,
While here the brooklet danced and played,
And gayly rung its liquid bells.

The springs gave me their crystal flood,
And my contentment made it wine—
And oft I found what kingly food
Grew in the world-forgotten vine.

The moss, or weed, or running flower,
Too humble in their hope to climb,
Had in themselves the lovely power
To make me happier for the time.

And when the starry night came by,
And stooping looked into my cell,
Then all between the earth and sky
Was circled in a holier spell.

A height, and depth, and breath sublime
O'erspread the scene, and reached the stars,
Until Eternity and Time
Seemed drowning their dividing bars.

And voices which the day ne'er hears,
And visions which the sun ne'er sees,
From earth and from the distant spheres,
Came on the moonlight and the breeze.

Thus day and night my spirit grew
In love with that which round me shone,
Until my calm heart fully knew
The joy it is to be alone.

The time went by—till one fair dawn
I saw against the eastern fires
A visionary city drawn,
With dusky lines of domes and spires.

The wind in sad and fitful spells
Blew o'er it from the gates of morn,
Till I could clearly hear the bells
That rung above a world forlorn.

And well I listened to their voice,
And deeply pondered what they said—
Till I arose--there was no choice—
I went while yet the east was red.

My wakened heart for utterance yearned—
The clamorous wind had broke the spell—
I needs must teach what I had learned
Within my simple woodland cell.

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