The Poet's Ideal
"Spirit! what art thou erecting
On the heights of contemplation,
Where the vistas blue and shadowy,
Fade in airy clouds away?
At the fane of meditation
Art thou bowed to-day?"
"Lo! I climbed in floating ether
When the first tints of the dawning,
O'er the pale stars chaste in grandeur,
13Shed a stream of liquid light;
In the azure calm of morning
Gleamed a vision bright.
"Twas air-fashioned: faint, dissolving,
Seemed its statuesque proportions,
Yet imperious and majestic
Were its gestures and its mien;
And all beauty seemed distortions
To this,--fairest ever seen.
"Round its head a circlet shaping,
Wove a cloud its golden tissues,
Where these words were writ in splendor:
'Ideal Beauty is my name;
I from life draw finest issues,
Wouldst thou do the same?'
"Poised aloft on heights serenest,
There she stands,--that radiant vision.
At the fane of meditation,
Wouldst thou know, O questioner?
Lo! I bow in calm decision,
Yield my thoughts to her.
"'Mid the vistas blue and shadowy,
'Mid the ether iris-tinted,
I erect Ideal Perfection,
And then worship at her shrine;
To the poet she has hinted
Sense of things divine."