JAMES RUSSELL LOWELL

TO THE SPIRIT OF KEATS

Great soul, thou sittest with me in my room,
Uplifting me with thy vast, quiet eyes,
On whose full orbs, with kindly lustre, lies
The twilight warmth of ruddy ember-gloom:
Thy clear, strong tones will oft bring sudden
bloom
Of hope secure, to him who lonely cries,
Wrestling with the young poet's agonies,
Neglect and scorn, which seem a certain doom:
Yes! the few words which, like great thunder-
drops,
Thy large heart down to earth shook doubt-

fully, 10
Thrilled by the inward lightning of its might,
Serene and pure, like gushing joy of light,
Shall track the eternal chords of Destiny,
After the moon-led pulse of ocean stops.

1841 1842


"GREAT TRUTHS ARE PORTIONS
OF THE SOUL OF MAN"

Great Truths are portions of the soul of man;
Great souls are portions of Eternity;
Each drop of blood that e'er through true
heart ran
With lofty message, ran for thee and me;
For God's law, since the starry song began,
Hath been, and still forevermore must be,
That every deed which shall outlast Time's
span
Must spur the soul to be erect and free;
Slave is no word of deathless lineage sprung;
Too many noble souls have thought and

died, 10
Too many mighty poets lived and sung,
And our good Saxon, from lips purified
With martyr-fire, throughout the world hath
rung
Too long to have God's holy cause denied.

1841 1842


"I ASK NOT FOR THOSE
THOUGHTS, THAT SUDDEN
LEAP"

I ask not for those thoughts, that sudden leap
From being's sea, like the isle-seeming Kraken,
With whose great rise the ocean all is shaken
And a heart-tremble through the
deep;
Give me that growth which some perchance
deem sleep,
Wherewith the steadfast coral-stems uprise,
Which, by the toil of gathering energies,
Their upward way into clear sunshine keep,
Until, by Heaven's sweetest influences,

Slowly and slowly spreads a speck of green 10
Into a pleasant island in the seas,
Where, 'mid tall palms, the cane-roofed home
is seen,
And wearied men shall sit at sunset's hour,
Hearing the leaves and loving God's dear
power.

1841 1843


"MY LOVE, I HAVE NO FEAR
THAT THOU SHOULDST DIE"

My Love, I have no fear that thou shouldst
die;
Albeit I ask no fairer life than this
Whose numbering-clock is still thy gentle
kiss,
While Time and Peace with hands enlockèd
fly;
Yet care I not where in Eternity
We live and love, well knowing that there is
No backward step for those who feel the bliss
Of Faith as their most lofty yearnings high:
Love hath so purified my being's core,

Meseems I scarcely should be startled, even, 10
To find, some morn, that thou hadst gone
before;
Since, with thy love, this knowledge too was
given,

-435-

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Major American Poets
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents ix
  • Philip Freneau 1
  • William Cullen Bryant 61
  • John Greenleaf Whittier 105
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson 191
  • Edgar Allan Poe 243
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 287
  • James Russell Lowell 435
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes 543
  • Emily Dickinson 603
  • Sidney Lanier 611
  • Walt Whitman 651
  • Vachel Lindsay 733
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson 755
  • Notes Chronological, Bibliographical, Critical 779
  • William Cullen Bryant 788
  • John Greenleaf Whittier 798
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson 817
  • Edgar Alian Poe 834
  • Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 847
  • James Russell Lowell 860
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes 882
  • Emily Dickinson 893
  • Sidney Lanier 903
  • Walt Whitman 914
  • Vachel Lindsay 929
  • Edwin Arlington Robinson 938
  • General Principles of Poetics 948
  • General Index 951
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