Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A PAEAN TO THE DAWN, by BAYARD TAYLOR

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

A PAEAN TO THE DAWN, by                 Poet's Biography
First Line: The dusky sky fades into blue
Last Line: I see the sunrise brighten!
Alternate Author Name(s): Taylor, James Bayard
Subject(s): Dawn; Life; Love; Nature; Soul; Sunrise


THE dusky sky fades into blue,
And bluer waters bind us;
The stars are glimmering faint and few,
The night is left behind us!
Turn not where sinks the sullen dark
Before the signs of warning,
But crowd the canvas on our bark
And sail to meet the morning.
Rejoice! rejoice! the hues that fill
The orient, flush and lighten;
And over the blue Ionian hill
The Dawn begins to brighten!


We leave the Night, that weighed so long
Upon the soul's endeavor,
For Morning, on these hills of Song,
Has made her home forever.
Hark to the sound of trump and lyre,
In the olive-groves before us,
And the rhythmic beat, the pulse of fire
Throbs in the full-voice chorus!
More than Memnonian grandeur speaks
In the triumph of the paean,
And all the glory of the Greeks
Breathes o'er the old AEgean.


Here shall the ancient Dawn return,
That lit the earliest poet,
Whose very ashes in his urn
Would radiate glory through it, --
The dawn of Life, when Life was Song,
And Song the life of Nature,
And the Singer stood amid the throng, --
A God in every feature!
When Love was free, and free as air
The utterance of Passion,
And the heart in every fold lay bare,
Nor shamed its true expression.


Then perfect limb and perfect face
Surpassed our best ideal;
Unconscious Nature's law was grace, --
The Beautiful was real.
For men acknowledged true desires,
And light as garlands wore them;
They were begot by vigorous sires,
And noble mothers bore them.
Oh, when the shapes of Art they planned
Were living forms of passion,
Impulse and Deed went hand in hand,
And Life was more than Fashion!


The seeds of Song they scattered first
Flower in all later pages;
Their forms have woke the Artist's thirst
Through the succeeding ages:
But I will seek the fountain-head
Whence flowed their inspiration,
And lead the unshackled life they led,
Accordant with Creation.
The World's false life, that follows still,
Has ceased its chain to tighten,
And over the blue Ionian hill
I see the sunrise brighten!

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