by Adah Isaacs Menken
"Sounding through the silent dimness
Where I faint and weary lay,
Spake a poet: 'I will lead thee
To the land of song to-day.'"
O bards! weak heritors of passion and of pain!
Dwellers in the shadowy Palace of Dreams!
With your unmated souls flying insanely at the stars!
Why have you led me lonely and desolate to the Deathless Hill of Song?
You promised that I should ring trancing shivers of rapt melody down to the dumb earth.
You promised that its echoes should vibrate till Time's circles met in old Eternity.
You promised that I should gather the stars like blossoms to my white bosom.
You promised that I should create a new moon of Poesy.
You promised that the wild wings of my soul should shimmer through the dusky locks of the clouds, like burning arrows, down into the deep heart of the dim world.
But, O Bards! sentinels on the Lonely Hill, why breaks there yet no Day to me?
O lonely watchers for the Light! how long must I grope with my dead eyes in the sand?
Only the red fire of Genius, that narrows up life's chances to the black path that crawls on to the dizzy clouds.
The wailing music that spreads its pinions to the tremble of the wind, has crumbled off to silence.
From the steep ideal the quivering soul falls in its lonely sorrow like an unmated star from the blue heights of Heaven into the dark sea.
O Genius! is this thy promise?
O Bards! is this all?
Last updated July 05, 2015