Charles Warren Stoddard


Oh, Poesy! exquisite gift,
Thou art a magnet that shall lift
My gold from out the drossy rift.

Thou art my soul's refulgent beam
My guiding star to ever gleam
A flaming pillar in my dream.

Thou art my drifting-cloud by day
Whose bright pavilion-courts alway
Allure me with their fair display.

Thou art a Hebe that presents
A chalice to my lips, and thence
I drain the charméd, rich contents.

Delicious, bubbling nectars twine
Their trickling tendrils as a vine
Through all my being; steept in wine

And numb to any thought of earth
I wrestle with my spirit's mirth
In travail with a poem's birth.

When chasing cares are wearying
With all my life to thee I cling--
Believing I was born to sing.

Lo! thou hast taught me where to fly
Escaping every ill; for I,
Transfigured by thy witchery,

As Daphne in the laurel park
Seem wholly shut in leafy ark,
I feel beneath my rugged bark

A nervéd pulse that never cowers;
The turgid stream of sap hath powers
That shall beget a thousand flowers.

I quiver from my very root,
I strive to doff my leafy suit
And load my boughs with perfect fruit--

And lift my gnarled limbs to thee--
I writhe and struggle to be free
Endowed with thy divinity.

Thou art my fast and feast; and true
Thou art my sweetest twilight-dew,
That grants me purer life anew.

And as the flower unto the moon
Returns its hoarded sweets full soon,
I yield thee all, in verse and tune.

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Charles Warren Stoddard