"In Youth I Have Known One"

     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 I have known one with whom the Earth
         In secret communing held-as he with it,
     In daylight, and in beauty, from his birth:
         Whose fervid, flickering 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 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 moonbeam that hangs o’er,
     But I will half believe that wild light fraught
         With more of sovereignty than ancient lore
     Hath ever told-or is it of a thought
         The unembodied essence, and no more
     That with a quickening 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 loved 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 given
         In beauty by our God, to those alone
     Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven
         Drawn by their heart’s passion, and that tone,
     That high tone of the spirit which hath striven
         Though not with Faith-with godliness—whose throne
     With desperate energy ‘t hath beaten down;
         Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.

          * Query “fervor”?—ED.

This poem is in the public domain.