Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, ODE ON ART, by CHARLES SPRAGUE



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ODE ON ART, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: When, from the sacred garden driven
Last Line: Links realm to realm, and race to race.
Variant Title(s): Art
Subject(s): Art & Artists


WHEN, from the sacred garden driven,
Man fled before his Maker's wrath,
An angel left her place in heaven,
And crossed the wanderer's sunless path.
'T was Art! sweet Art! new radiance broke
Where her light foot flew o'er the ground,
And thus with seraph voice she spoke —
"The Curse a Blessing shall be found."

She led him through the trackless wild,
Where noontide sunbeam never blazed;
The thistle shrunk, the harvest smiled,
And Nature gladdened as she gazed.
Earth's thousand tribes of living things,
At Art's command, to him are given;
The village grows, the city springs,
And point their spires of faith to heaven.

He rends the oak — and bids it ride,
To guard the shores its beauty graced;
He smites the rock — upheaved in pride,
See towers of strength and domes of taste.
Earth's teeming caves their wealth reveal,
Fire bears his banner on the wave,
He bids the mortal poison heal,
And leaps triumphant o'er the grave.

He plucks the pearls that stud the deep,
Admiring Beauty's lap to fill;
He breaks the stubborn marble's sleep,
And mocks his own Creator's skill.
With thoughts that swell his glowing soul,
He bids the ore illume the page,
And, proudly scorning Time's control,
Commerces with an unborn age.

In fields of air he writes his name,
And treads the chambers of the sky;
He reads the stars, and grasps the flame
That quivers round the Throne on high.
In war renowned, in peace sublime,
He moves in greatness and in grace;
His power, subduing space and time,
Links realm to realm, and race to race.





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