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CHE world is full of glorious likenesses.
The poet's power is to sort these out,
And to make music with the common strings
With which the world is strung; to make the
Earth utter heavenly harmony, and draw
Life clear and sweet and harmless as spring
Welling its way thro' fiowers.
The poet's pen is the true divining rod
Which trembles toward the inner founts of feeling;
Bringing to light and use else hid from all,
The many sweet, clear sources which we have
Of good and beauty in our own deep bosoms,
And mocks the variations of all mind
As does the needle an air-investing storm's.
Experience and imagination are
Mother and sire of song—the harp and hand.
The bard's aim is to give us thoughts, his art
Lieth in giving them as bright as may be.
And even when their looks are earthly, still
If opened, like geodes, they may be found
Full of sparkling, sparry loveliness.
They should be wrought, not cast; like tempered steel,
Burned and cooled, burned again, and cooled again.
A thought is like a ray of light--complex
In nature-simple only in effect.
Words are the motes of thought, and nothing more;
Words are like sea-shells on the shore; they show
Where the mind ends, and not how far it has been.
Let every thought, too, soldier-like, be stripped
And roughly looked over.
A mist of words,
Like halos round the moon, though they enlarge
The seeming size of thoughts, make the light less
Doubly. It is the thought writ down we want,
Not its effect—not likenesses of likenesses.
And such descriptions are not, more than gloves
Instead of hands to shake, enough for us.
Great bards toil much and most, but most at first
Ere they can learn to concentrate the soul
For hours upon a thought to carry it.
Some never rise above a petty fault,
And of whose best things it is kindly said,
The thought is fair; but to be perfect wants
A little hightening, like a pretty face
With a low forehead.
Some steal a thought
And clip it round the edge, and challenge him
Whose 'twas to swear to it.
What of style?
There is no style is good, but nature's style.
And the great ancient's writings beside ours
Look like illuminated manuscripts
Before plain press print; all had different minds,
And followed only their own bents; for this
Nor copied that, nor that the other; each
Is finished in his writing; each is best
For his own mind and that it was upon;
And all have lived, are living, and shall live;
But these have died, are dying, and shall die;
Yea, copyists shall die, spark out and out.
Minds which combine and make alone can tell
The bearings and workings of all things
In and upon each other.
And he who means to be a great bard, must
Measure himself against pure mind and fling
His soul into a stream of thought, as will
A swimmer hurl himself into the water.
Write to the mind and heart, and let the ear
Glean after what it can. The voice of great
Or graceful thoughts is sweeter far than all
Word music; and great thoughts, like great deeds, need
No trumpet. Never be in haste writing.
Let that thou utterest be of nature's flow,
Not art's—a fountain's, not a pump's. But once
Begun, work thou all things into thy work;
And set thyself about it, as the sea
THE TRUE POET.- -FRIENDSHIP.
About earth, lashing at it day and night;
And leave the stamp of thine own soul in it
As thorough as the fossil flower in clay.
I count myself in nothing else so happy,
As in a soul remembering my good friends;
And, as my fortune ripens with my love,
It shall be still thy true love's recompense.
THE FINEST ENGLISH EPIGRAM.
“Live while you live," the epicure would say, And seize the pleasures of the present day. “Live while you live,” the sacred preacher cries, And give to God each moment as it flies. Lord, in my view, let both united be; I live in pleasure while I live to thee.