Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE SPIRIT OF SONG, by ELIZABETH CLEMENTINE DODGE KINNEY



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THE SPIRIT OF SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Eternal fame! Thy great rewards
Last Line: And grows by utterance strong.
Alternate Author Name(s): Stedman, Edmund Burke, Mrs.


ETERNAL Fame! thy great rewards,
Throughout all time, shall be
The right of those old master-bards
Of Greece and Italy;
And of fair Albion's favoured isle,
Where Poesy's celestial smile
Hath shone for ages, gilding bright
Her rocky cliffs and ancient towers,
And cheering this new world of ours
With a reflected light.

Yet, though there be no path untrod
By that immortal race --
Who walked with Nature as with God,
And saw her face to face --
No living truth by them unsung --
No thought that hath not found a tongue
In some strong lyre of olden time;
Must every tuneful lute be still --
That may not give a world the thrill
Of their great harp sublime?

Oh, not while beating hearts rejoice
In Music's simplest tone,
And hear in Nature's every voice
An echo to their own!
Not till these scorn the little rill
That runs rejoicing down the hill,
Or the soft melancholy glide
Of some deep stream through glen and glade,
Because 't is not the thunder made
By ocean's heaving tide!

The hallowed lilies of the field
In glory are arrayed,
And timid, blue-eyed violets yield
Their fragrance to the shade;
Nor do the way-side flowers conceal
Those modest charms that sometimes steal
Upon the weary traveller's eyes
Like angels, spreading for his feet
A carpet filled with odours sweet,
And decked with heavenly dyes.

Thus let the affluent Soul of Song --
That all with flowers adorns --
Strew life's uneven path along,
And hide its thousand thorns:
Oh, many a sad and weary heart,
That treads a noiseless way apart,
Has blessed the humble poet's name,
For fellowship refined and free,
In meek wild-flowers of poesy,
That asked no higher fame!

And pleasant as the water-fall
To one by deserts bound --
Making the air all musical
With cool, inviting sound --
Is oft some unpretending strain
Of rural song, to him whose brain
Is fevered in the sordid strife
That Avarice breeds 'twixt man and man,
While moving on in caravan
Across the sands of Life.

Yet not for these alone he sings;
The poet's breast is stirred
As by the spirit that takes wings
And carols in the bird!
He thinks not of a future name,
Nor whence his inspiration came,
Nor whither goes his warbled song;
As Joy itself delights in joy --
His soul finds life in its employ,
And grows by utterance strong.





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