Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, INSPIRATION, by FREDERICK GODDARD TUCKERMAN



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INSPIRATION, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: The common paths by which we walk and wind
Last Line: Of a star-filled winter's night.
Subject(s): Inspiration; Seasons; Walking


The common paths by which we walk and wind
Unheedful, but perhaps to wish them done,
Though edged with brier and clotbur, bear behind
Such leaves as Milton wears or Shakespeare won.
Still, could we look with clear poetic faith,
No day so desert but a footway hath,
Which still explored, though dimly traced it turn,
May yet arrive where gates of glory burn:
Nay, scarce an hour of all the shining twelve
But to the inmost sight may ope a valve
On those hid gardens where the great of old
Walked from the world and their sick hearts consoled
Mid bowers that fall not, wells which never waste,
And gathered flowers, the fruit whereof we taste:
While, of the silent hours that mourn the day,
Not one but bears a poet's crown away,
Regardless or unconscious how he might
Collect an import from the fires of night,
Which, when the hand is still, and fixed the head,
Shall tremble starlike o'er the undying dead;

And, with a tearful glory,
Through the darkness shadowing then,
Still light the sleeper's story
In the memories of men.

And such are mine: for me these scenes decay:
For me, in hues of change, are ever born
The faded crimson of a wasted day,
The gold and purple braveries of the morn,
The life of Spring, the strength that Summer gains,
The dying foliage sad September stains;
By latter Autumn shattered on the plain,
Massed by the wind, blent by the rotting rain;
Till belts of snow from cliff to cliff appear,
And whitely link the dead and newborn year.
All these, to music deep, for me unfold,
Yet vaguely die: their sense I cannot hold,
But shudder inly as the years drop by
And leave me lifting still a darkened eye.
Or if from these despondingly I go
To look for light where clear examples glow,

Though names constellate glitter overhead
To prompt the path and guide the failing tread,
I linger, watching for a warmer gleam,
While still my spirit shivers and I seem

Like one constrained to wander
Alone till morning light,
Beneath the hopeless grandeur
Of a star-filled winter's night.





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