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Alan Seeger - The Nympholept

There was a boy -- not above childish fears -- 
With steps that faltered now and straining ears, 
Timid, irresolute, yet dauntless still, 
Who one bright dawn, when each remotest hill 
Stood sharp and clear in Heaven's unclouded blue 
And all Earth shimmered with fresh-beaded dew, 
Risen in the first beams of the gladdening sun, 
Walked up into the mountains. One by one 
Each towering trunk beneath his sturdy stride 
Fell back, and ever wider and more wide 
The boundless prospect opened. Long he strayed, 
From dawn till the last trace of slanting shade 
Had vanished from the canyons, and, dismayed 
At that far length to which his path had led, 
He paused -- at such a height where overhead 
The clouds hung close, the air came thin and chill, 
And all was hushed and calm and very still, 
Save, from abysmal gorges, where the sound 
Of tumbling waters rose, and all around 
The pines, by those keen upper currents blown, 
Muttered in multitudinous monotone. 
Here, with the wind in lovely locks laid bare, 
With arms oft raised in dedicative prayer, 
Lost in mute rapture and adoring wonder, 
He stood, till the far noise of noontide thunder, 
Rolled down upon the muffled harmonies 
Of wind and waterfall and whispering trees, 
Made loneliness more lone. Some Panic fear 
Would seize him then, as they who seemed to hear 
In Tracian valleys or Thessalian woods 
The god's hallooing wake the leafy solitudes; 
I think it was the same: some piercing sense 
Of Deity's pervasive immanence, 
The Life that visible Nature doth indwell 
Grown great and near and all but palpable . . . 
He might not linger, but with winged strides 
Like one pursued, fled down the mountain-sides -- 
Down the long ridge that edged the steep ravine, 
By glade and flowery lawn and upland green, 
And never paused nor felt assured again 
But where the grassy foothills opened. Then, 
While shadows lengthened on the plain below 
And the sun vanished and the sunset-glow 
Looked back upon the world with fervid eye 
Through the barred windows of the western sky, 
Homeward he fared, while many a look behind 
Showed the receding ranges dim-outlined, 
Highland and hollow where his path had lain, 
Veiled in deep purple of the mountain rain. 

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Added: May 2 2005 | Viewed: 1670 times | Comments and analysis of The Nympholept by Alan Seeger Comments (1)

The Nympholept - Comments and Information

Poet: Alan Seeger
Poem: The Nympholept
Poem of the Day: Feb 10 2010

Comment 1 of 1, added on February 12th, 2012 at 11:44 AM.
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1btdcX Yeah !... life is like riding a bicycle. You will not fall unless you stop pedaling!!....

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