Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, BEAUTY OF NATURE, by HENRY ALFORD

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BEAUTY OF NATURE, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Oft have I listen'd to a voice that spake
Last Line: Like guardian spirits watch the slumbering earth?
Subject(s): Nature

OFT have I listen'd to a voice that spake
Of cold and dull realities of life.
Deem we not thus of life: for we may fetch
Light from a hidden glory, which shall clothe
The meanest thing that is with hues of heaven
If thence we draw not glory, all our light
Is but a taper in a chamber'd cave,
That giveth presence to new gulfs of dark.
Our light should be the broad and open day;
And as we lose its shining, we shall look
Still on the bright and daylight face of things.
Is it for nothing that the mighty sun
Rises each morning from the Eastern plain
Over the meadows fresh with hoary dew?
Is it for nothing that the shadowy trees
On yonder hill-top, in the summer night
Stand darkly out before the golden moon?
Is it for nothing that the autumn boughs
Hang thick with mellow fruit, what time the swain
Presses the luscious juice, and joyful shouts
Rise in the purple twilight, gladdening him
Who labour'd late, and homeward wends his way
Over the ridgy grounds, and through the mead,
Where the mist broods along the fringed stream?
Far in the Western sea dim islands float,
And lines of mountain coast receive the sun
As he sinks downward to his resting-place,
Minister'd to by bright and crimson clouds --
Is it for nothing that some artist hand
Hath wrought together things so beautiful?
Noon follows morn, the quiet breezeless noon:
And pleasant even, season of sweet sounds
And peaceful sights -- and then the wondrous bird
That warbles like an angel, full of love,
From copse and hedgerow side pouring abroad
Her tide of song into the listening night.
Beautiful is the last gleam of the sun
Slanted through twining branches: beautiful
The birth of the faint stars -- first clear and pale
The steady-lustred Hesper, like a gem
On the flush'd bosom of the West; and then
Some princely fountain of unborrow'd light,
Arcturus, or the Dogstar, or the seven
That circle without setting round the pole.
Is it for nothing at the midnight hour,
That solemn silence sways the hemisphere,
And ye must listen long before ye hear
The cry of beasts, or fall of distant stream,
Or breeze among the tree-tops -- while the stars
Like guardian spirits watch the slumbering earth?

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