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Ralph Waldo Emerson - Threnody

The South-wind brings 
Life, sunshine and desire, 
And on every mount and meadow 
Breathes aromatic fire; 
But over the dead he has no power, 
The lost, the lost, he cannot restore; 
And, looking over the hills, I mourn 
The darling who shall not return. 
I see my empty house, 
I see my trees repair their boughs; 
And he, the wondrous child, 
Whose silver warble wild 
Outvalued every pulsing sound 
Within the ear's cerulean round,-- 
The hyacinthine boy, for whom 
Morn well might break and April bloom, 
The gracious boy, who did adorn 
The world whereinto he was born, 
And by his countenance repay 
The favor of the loving Day,-- 
Has disappeared from the Day's eye; 
Far and wide she cannot find him; 
My hopes pursue, they cannot bind him. 
Returned this day, the South-wind searches, 
And finds young pines and budding birches; 
But finds not the budding man: 
Nature, who lost, cannot remake him; 
Fate let him fall, Fate can't retake him; 
Nature, Fate, men, him seek in vain. 

And whither now, my truant wise and sweet, 
0, whither tend thy feet! 
I had the right, few days ago, 
Thy steps to watch, thy place to know: 
How have I forfeited the right? 
Hast thou forgot me in a new delight? 
I hearken for thy household cheer, 
O eloquent child! 
Whose voice, an equal messenger, 
Conveyed thy meaning mild. 
What though the pains and joys 
Whereof it spoke were toys 
Fitting his age and ken, 
Yet fairest dames and bearded men, 
Who heard the sweet request,  
So gentle, wise and grave, 
Bended with joy to his behest 
And let the world's affairs go by, 
A while to share his cordial game, 
Or mend his wicker wagon-frame, 
Still plotting how their hungry ear 
That winsome voice again might hear; 
For his lips could well pronounce 
Words that were persuasions. 
Gentlest guardians marked serene 
His early hope, his liberal mien; 
Took counsel from his guiding eyes 
To make this wisdom earthly wise. 
Ah, vainly do these eyes recall 
The school-march, each day's festival, 
When every morn my bosom glowed 
To watch the convoy on the road; 
The babe in willow wagon closed, 
With rolling eyes and face composed; 
With children forward and behind, 
Like Cupids studiously inclined; 
And he the chieftain paced beside, 
The centre of the troop allied, 
With sunny face of sweet repose, 
To guard the babe from fancied foes. 
The little captain innocent 
Took the eye with him as he went; 
Each village senior paused to scan 
And speak the lovely caravan. 
From the window I look out 
To mark thy beautiful parade, 
Stately marching in cap and coat 
To same tune by fairies played;-- 
A music heard by thee alone 
To works as noble led thee on. 

Now Love and Pride, alas! in vain, 
Up and down their glances strain. 
The painted sled stands where it stood; 
The kennel by the corded wood; 
His gathered sticks to stanch the wall 
Of the snow-tower, when snow should fall; 
The ominous hole he dug in the sand, 
And childhood's castles built or planned; 
His daily haunts I well discern,-- 
The poultry-yard, the shed, the barn,-- 
And every inch of garden ground 
Paced by the blessed feet around, 
From the roadside to the brook 
Whereinto he loved to look. 
Step the meek fowls where erst they ranged; 
The wintry garden lies unchanged; 
The brook into the stream runs on; 
But the deep-eyed boy is gone. 

On that shaded day, 
Dark with more clouds than tempests are, 
When thou didst yield thy innocent breath 
In birdlike heavings unto death, 
Night came, and Nature had not thee; 
I said, "We are mates in misery." 
The morrow dawned with needless glow; 
Each snowbird chirped, each fowl must crow; 
Each tramper started; but the feet 
Of the most beautiful and sweet 
Of human youth had left the hill 
And garden,--they were bound and still. 
There's nor a sparrow or a wren, 
There's not a blade of autumn grain, 
Which the four seasons do not tend 
And tides of life and increase lend; 
And every chick of every bird, 
And weed and rock-moss is preferred. 
O ostrich-like forgetfulnesr! 
O loss of larger in the lessl 
Was there no star that could be sent, 
No watcher in the firmament, 
No angel from the countless host 
That loiters round the crystal coast, 
Could stoop to heal that only child, 
Nature's sweet marvel undefiled, 
And keep the blossom of the earth, 
Which all her harvests were nor worth? 
Not mine,--I never called thee mine, 
Bur Nature's heir,--if I repine, 
And seeing rashly torn and moved 
Nor what I made, but what I loved, 
Grow early old with grief that thou 
Must to the wastes of Nature go,-- 
'Tis because a general hope 
Was quenched, and all must doubt and grope. 
For flattering planets seemed to say 
This child should ills of ages stay, 
By wondrous tongue, and guided pen, 
Bring the flown Muses back to men. 
Perchance not he but Nature ailed, 
The world and nor the infant failed. 
It was not ripe yet to sustain 
A genius of so fine a strain, 
Who gazed upon the sun and moon 
As if he came unto his own, 
And, pregnant with his grander thought, 
Brought the old order into doubt. 
His beauty once their beauty tried; 
They could not feed him, and he died, 
And wandered backward as in scorn, 
To wait an aeon to be born. 
Ill day which made this beauty waste, 
Plight broken, this high face defaced! 
Some went and came about the dead; 
And some in books of solace read; 
Same to their friends the tidings say; 
Some went to write, some went to pray; 
One tarried here, there hurried one; 
But their heart abode with none. 
Covetous death bereaved us all, 
To aggrandize one funeral. 
The eager fate which carried thee 
Took the largest part of me: 
For this Iosing is true dying; 
This is lordly man's down-lying, 
This his slow but sum reclining, 
Star by star his world resigning. 

O child of paradise, 
Boy who made dear his father's home, 
In whose deep eyes 
Men read the welfare of the times to come, 
I am too much bereft. 
The world dishonored thou hast left. 
O truth's and nature's costly lid 
O trusted broken prophecy! 
O richest fortunes sourly crossed! 
Born for the future, to the future lost! 

The deep Heart answered, "Weepest thou? 
Worthier cause for passion wild 
If I had not taken the child. 
And deemest thou as those who pore, 
With aged eyes, short way before,-- 
Think'st Beauty vanished from the coast 
Of matter, and thy darling lost? 
Taught he not thee--the man of eld, 
Whose eyes within his eyes beheld 
Heaven's numerous hierarchy span 
The mystic gulf from God to man? 
To be alone wilt thou begin 
When worlds of lovers hem thee in? 
Tomorrow, when the masks shall fall 
That dizen Nature's carnival, 
The pure shall see by their own will, 
Which oveflowing. Love shall fill, 
T is not within the force of fate 
The fate-conjoined to separate. 
But thou, my votary, weepest thou? 
I gave thee sight--where is it now? 
I taught thy heart beyond the reach 
Of ritual, bible, or of speech; 
Wrote in thy mind's transparent table, 
As far as the incommunicable; 
Taught thee each private sign to raise 
Lit by the supersolar blaze. 
Past utterance, and past belief, 
And part the blasphemy of grief 
The mysteries of Nature's heart; 
And though no Muse can these impart, 
Throb thine with Nature's throbbing breast 
And all is clear from east to west. 

"I came to thee as to a friend; 
Dearest, to thee I did not send 
Tutors, but a joyful eye, 
Innocence that matched the sky, 
Lovely locks, a form of wonder, 
Laughter rich as woodland thunder, 
That thou might'st entertain apart 
The richest flowering of all art: 
And, as the great all-loving Day 
Through smallest chambers takes its way, 
That thou might'st break thy daily bread 
With prophet, savior and head; 
That thou might'st cherish for thine own 
The riches of sweet Mary's Son, 
Boy-Rabbi, Israel's paragon. 
And thoughtest thou such guest 
Would in thy hall take up his rest? 
Would rushing life forget her laws, 
Fare's glowing revolution pause? 
High omens ask diviner guess; 
Not to be conned to tediousness 
And know my higher gifts unbind 
The zone that girds the incarnate mind. 
When the scanty shores are full 
With Thought's perilous, whirling pool; 
When frail Nature can no more, 
Then the Spirit strikes the hour: 
My servant Death, with solving rite, 
Pours finite into infinite. 
Wilt thou freeze love's tidal flow, 
Whose streams through Nature circling go? 
Nail the wild star to its track 
On the half-climbed zodiac? 
Light is light which radiates, 
Blood is blood which circulates, 
Life is life which generates, 
And many-seeming life is one,-- 
Wilt thou transfix and make it none? 
Its onward force too starkly pent 
In figure, bone, and lineamenti 
Wilt thou, uncalled, interrogate, 
Talker! the unreplying Fate? 
Nor see the genius of the whole 
Ascendant in the private soul, 
Beckon it when to go and came, 
Self-announced its hour of doom? 
Fair the soul's recess and shrine, 
Magic-built to last a season; 
Masterpiece of love benign, 
Fairer that expansive reason 
Whose omen't is, and sign. 
Wilt thou not ope thy heart to know 
What rainbows teach, and sunsets show? 
Verdict which accumulates 
From lengthening scroll of human fates, 
Voice of earth to earth returned, 
Prayers of saints that inly burned,-- 
Saying, What is excellent, 
As God lives, is permanent; 
Hearts are dust, hearts' loves remain; 
Heart's love will meet thee again.
Revere the Maker fetch thine eye 
Up to his style, and manners of the sky. 
Not of adamant and gold 
Built he heaven stark and cold; 
No, but a nest of bending reeds, 
Flowering grass and scented weeds; 
Or like a traveller's fleeing tent, 
Or bow above the tempest beet; 
Built of tears and sacred ffames, 
And virtue reaching to its aims; 
Built of furtherance and pursuing, 
Not of spent deeds, but of doing. 
Silent rushes the swift Lord 
Through ruined systems still restored, 
Broadsowing, bleak and void to bless, 
Plants with worlds the wilderness; 
Waters with tears of ancient sorrow 
Apples of Eden ripe to-merrow. 
House and tenant go to ground, 
Lost in God, in Godhead found."

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Poet: Ralph Waldo Emerson
Poem: Threnody
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