How often we forget all time, when lone
Admiring Nature’s universal throne;
Her woods — her wilds — her mountains — the intense
Reply of HERS to OUR intelligence!
In youth have I known one with whom the Earth
In secret communing held — as he with it,
In day light, and in beauty from his birth:
Whose fervid, flick’ring torch of life was lit
From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
A passionate light-such for his spirit was fit —
And yet that spirit knew — not [[knew not —]] in the hour
Of its own fervor — what had o’er it power.
Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
To a fever by the moon beam that hangs o’er,
But I will half believe that wild light fraught
With more of sov’reignty than ancient lore
Hath ever told — or is it of a thought
The unembodied essence, and no more
That with a quick’ning spell doth o’er us pass
As dew of the night-time, o’er the summer grass.
Doth o’er us pass, when, as th’ expanding eye
To the lov’d object — so the tear to the lid
Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
And yet it need not be — (that object) hid
From us in life — but common — which doth lie
Each hour before us — but then only bid
With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken
T’ awake us — ’Tis a symbol and a token. [[,]]
Of what in other worlds shall be — and giv’n
In beauty by our God, to those alone
Who otherwise would fall from life and Heav’n
Drawn by their heart’s passion, and that tone,
That high tone of the spirit which hath striv’n
Tho’ not with Faith — with godliness — whose throne
With desp’rate energy ’t hath beaten down;
Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.
Edgar Allan Poe
Originally Published in 1827
Image by W. Heath Robinson