THAT which eludes this verse and any verse,
Unheard by sharpest ear, unformd in clearest eye or cunningest mind,
Nor lore nor fame, nor happiness nor wealth,
And yet the pulse of every heart and life throughout the world incessantly,
Which you and I and all pursuing ever ever miss,
Open but still a secret, the real of the real, an illusion,
Costless, vouchsafed to each, yet never man the owner,
Which poets vainly seek to put in rhyme, historians in prose,
Which sculptor never chiseld yet, nor painter painted,
Which vocalist never sung, nor orator nor actor ever utterd,
Invoking here and now I challenge for my song.
Indifferently, mid public, private haunts, in solitude,
Behind the mountain and the wood,
Companion of the citys busiest streets, through the assemblage,
It and its radiations constantly glide.
In looks of fair unconscious babes,
Or strangely in the coffind dead,
Or show of breaking dawn or stars by night,
As some dissolving delicate film of dreams,
Hiding yet lingering.
Two little breaths of words comprising it.
Two words, yet all from first to last comprised in it.
How ardently for it!
How many ships have saild and sunk for it!
How many travelers started from their homes and neer returnd!
How much of genius boldly staked and lost for it!
What countless stores of beauty, love, venturd for it!
How all superbest deeds since Time began are traceable to itand shall be to the end!
How all heroic martyrdoms to it!
How, justified by it, the horrors, evils, battles of the earth!
How the bright fascinating lambent flames of it, in every age and land, have drawn
Rich as a sunset on the Norway coast, the sky, the islands, and the cliffs,
Or midnights silent glowing northern lights unreachable.
Haply Gods riddle it, so vague and yet so certain,
The soul for it, and all the visible universe for it,
And heaven at last for it.