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Henry David Thoreau - Inspiration

Whate'er we leave to God, God does, 
And blesses us; 
The work we choose should be our own, 
God leaves alone. 
If with light head erect I sing, 
Though all the Muses lend their force, 
From my poor love of anything, 
The verse is weak and shallow as its source. 

But if with bended neck I grope 
Listening behind me for my wit, 
With faith superior to hope, 
More anxious to keep back than forward it; 

Making my soul accomplice there 
Unto the flame my heart hath lit, 
Then will the verse forever wear-- 
Time cannot bend the line which God hath writ. 

Always the general show of things 
Floats in review before my mind, 
And such true love and reverence brings, 
That sometimes I forget that I am blind. 

But now there comes unsought, unseen, 
Some clear divine electuary, 
And I, who had but sensual been, 
Grow sensible, and as God is, am wary. 

I hearing get, who had but ears, 
And sight, who had but eyes before, 
I moments live, who lived but years, 
And truth discern, who knew but learning's lore. 

I hear beyond the range of sound, 
I see beyond the range of sight, 
New earths and skies and seas around, 
And in my day the sun doth pale his light. 

A clear and ancient harmony 
Pierces my soul through all its din, 
As through its utmost melody-- 
Farther behind than they, farther within. 

More swift its bolt than lightning is, 
Its voice than thunder is more loud, 
It doth expand my privacies 
To all, and leave me single in the crowd. 

It speaks with such authority, 
With so serene and lofty tone, 
That idle Time runs gadding by, 
And leaves me with Eternity alone. 

Now chiefly is my natal hour, 
And only now my prime of life; 
Of manhood's strength it is the flower, 
'Tis peace's end and war's beginning strife. 

It comes in summer's broadest noon, 
By a grey wall or some chance place, 
Unseasoning Time, insulting June, 
And vexing day with its presuming face. 

Such fragrance round my couch it makes, 
More rich than are Arabian drugs, 
That my soul scents its life and wakes 
The body up beneath its perfumed rugs. 

Such is the Muse, the heavenly maid, 
The star that guides our mortal course, 
Which shows where life's true kernel's laid, 
Its wheat's fine flour, and its undying force. 

She with one breath attunes the spheres, 
And also my poor human heart, 
With one impulse propels the years 
Around, and gives my throbbing pulse its start. 

I will not doubt for evermore, 
Nor falter from a steadfast faith, 
For thought the system be turned o'er, 
God takes not back the word which once He saith. 

I will not doubt the love untold 
Which not my worth nor want has bought, 
Which wooed me young, and woos me old, 
And to this evening hath me brought. 

My memory I'll educate 
To know the one historic truth, 
Remembering to the latest date 
The only true and sole immortal youth. 

Be but thy inspiration given, 
No matter through what danger sought, 
I'll fathom hell or climb to heaven, 
And yet esteem that cheap which love has bought. 

Fame cannot tempt the bard 
Who's famous with his God, 
Nor laurel him reward 
Who has his Maker's nod.

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Added: Feb 7 2004 | Viewed: 1325 times | Comments and analysis of Inspiration by Henry David Thoreau Comments (3)

Inspiration - Comments and Information

Poet: Henry David Thoreau
Poem: Inspiration
Poem of the Day: Aug 31 2008

Comment 3 of 3, added on January 11th, 2010 at 10:11 AM.
re:comment two

this poem has nothing to do with jesus.

anonymous from United States
Comment 2 of 3, added on February 13th, 2009 at 3:40 AM.

I think this is a lovely poem which talks about how we can only do beautiful things if we let Jesus take control :) I loved it !

Rebecca from United States
Comment 1 of 3, added on December 25th, 2004 at 9:42 PM.

Thoreau was moved by life and the creation around him and expressed his feelings in words of his poem. Many men and women have done so in past and are doing so in present by word, music, painting, teaching and in living! However, only about 40 men in history have been 'moved' by God in producing what is today called Holy Bible! This book undoubtedly moved Thoreau in thinking about life and trying to understand it's meaning. However, nobody can define what life is! There is only one word that can start to do so and the word is miracle! Miracle is defined as something wonderful not fully understood. As Thoreau was moved by life and it's creations, so we can be moved by reading his poems and be directed to the greatest inspirator in life, God!

Joseph from Australia

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