The Dial (October 1842)


Packed in my mind lie all the clothes

Which outward nature wears,

And in its fashion’s hourly change

It all things else repairs.

In vain I look for change abroad,

And can no difference find,

Till some new ray of peace uncalled

Illumes my inmost mind.

What is it gilds the trees and clouds,

And paints the heavens so gay,

But yonder fast abiding light

With its unchanging ray?

Lo, when the sun streams through the wood

Upon a winter’s morn,

Where’er his silent beams intrude

The murky night is gone.

How could the patient pine have known

The morning breeze would come,

Or humble flowers anticipate

The insect’s noonday hum?

Till the new light with morning cheer

From far streamed through the aisles,

And nimbly told the forest trees

For many stretching miles.

I’ve heard within my inmost soul

Such cheerful morning news,

In the horizon of my mind

Have seen such orient hues,

As in the twilight of the dawn,

When the first bird awake,

Are heard within some silent wood,

Where they the small twigs break,

Or in the eastern skies are seen,

Before the sun appears,

The harbingers of summer heats

Which from afar he bears.



My love must be as free

As is the eagle’s wing,

Hovering o’er land and sea

And every thing.

I must not dim my eye

In thy saloon,

I must not leave my sky

And nightly moon.

Be not the fowler’s net

Which stays my flight,

And craftily is set

T’ allure the sight,

But be the favoring gale

That bears me on,

And still doth fill my sail

When thou art gone.

I cannot leave my sky

For thy caprice,

True love would soar as high

As heaven is.

The eagle would not brook

Her mate thus won,

Who trained his eye to look

Beneath the sun.



In vain I see the morning rise,

In vain observe the western blaze,

Who idly look to other skies,

Expecting life by other ways.

Amidst such boundless wealth without,

I only still am poor within,

The birds have sung their summer out,

But still my spring does not begin.

Shall I then wait the autumn wind,

Compelled to seek a milder day,

And leave no curious nest behind,

No woods still echoing to my lay’?



There is a vale which none hath seen,

Where foot of man has never been,

Such as here lives with toil and strife

An anxious and a sinful life.

There every virtue has its birth,

Ere it descends upon the earth,

And thither every deed returns,

Which in the generous bosom burns.

There love is warm, and youth is young,

And simple truth on every tongue,

for Virtue still adventures there,

And freely breathes her native air.

And ever, if you hearken well,

You still may hear its vesper bell,

And tread of high-souled men go by,

Their thoughts conversing with the sky.