Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AT LAST, DEAR WARD, I TAKE A RHYMING QUILL, by GEORGE SANTAYANA

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AT LAST, DEAR WARD, I TAKE A RHYMING QUILL, by                 Poet Analysis     Poet's Biography
Last Line: On thine own regal cornerstone: I will!
Subject(s): Oxford, England; Creative Ability; Imagination

At last, dear Ward, I take a rhyming quill;
From its cleft point there springs an inky rill
Whose twisted stream, with intersecting flow,
Shall trace the ways my feet and fancies go.
They do not go together, for my feet
Wear the gray flagstones of an Oxford street
And wake the ivy-muffled echoes thrown
From great walls' crumbling honeycomb of stone
Or press the rich moist fields that sweep between
Long hedgerows budding into joyous green.
But what can Oxford's halls or hedgerows be,
Or outraged lingering sanctities, to me?
Not of another springtime have I need
Nor of this cradle of a still-born creed,
But of bold spirit kindred to the powers
That reared these cloisters and that piled these towers.
Of some wide vision and determined will
With charm to captivate and strength to kill.
The world is wide: it is not flesh and bone
And sun, and moon, and thunderbolt alone;
It is imagination swift and high
Creating in a dream its earth and sky.
Why then gape idly at external laws
When we ourselves have faculty to cause?
Build rather on your nature, when you can,
And bid the human spirit rule the man,
Nay, not the man, but all the world as well,
Till man be god of heaven and of hell.
Come, mad ambition, come, divine conceit,
That bringest nature down at fancy's feet,
Alone creative, capable alone
Of giving mind the sceptre, man the throne.
Build us more pyramids and minsters still
On thine own regal cornerstone: I will!

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