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Poem by Emma Lazarus
I A dream of interlinking hands, of feet Tireless to spin the unseen, fairy woof Of the entangling waltz. Bright eyebeams meet, Gay laughter echoes from the vaulted roof. Warm perfumes rise; the soft unflickering glow Of branching lights sets off the changeful charms Of glancing gems, rich stuffs, the dazzling snow Of necks unkerchieft, and bare, clinging arms. Hark to the music! How beneath the strain Of reckless revelry, vibrates and sobs One fundamental chord of constant pain, The pulse-beat of the poet's heart that throbs. So yearns, though all the dancing waves rejoice, The troubled sea's disconsolate, deep voice. II Who shall proclaim the golden fable false Of Orpheus' miracles? This subtle strain Above our prose-world's sordid loss and gain Lightly uplifts us. With the rhythmic waltz, The lyric prelude, the nocturnal song Of love and languor, varied visions rise, That melt and blend to our enchanted eyes. The Polish poet who sleeps silenced long, The seraph-souled musician, breathes again Eternal eloquence, immortal pain. Revived the exalted face we know so well, The illuminated eyes, the fragile frame, Slowly consuming with its inward flame, We stir not, speak not, lest we break the spell. III A voice was needed, sweet and true and fine As the sad spirit of the evening breeze, Throbbing with human passion, yet devine As the wild bird's untutored melodies. A voice for him 'neath twilight heavens dim, Who mourneth for his dead, while round him fall The wan and noiseless leaves. A voice for him Who sees the first green sprout, who hears the call Of the first robin on the first spring day. A voice for all whom Fate hath set apart, Who, still misprized, must perish by the way, Longing with love, for that they lack the art Of their own soul's expression. For all these Sing the unspoken hope, the vague, sad reveries. IV Then Nature shaped a poet's heart--a lyre From out whose chords the lightest breeze that blows Drew trembling music, wakening sweet desire. How shall she cherish him? Behold! she throws This precious, fragile treasure in the whirl Of seething passions; he is scourged and stung, Must dive in storm-vext seas, if but one pearl Of art or beauty therefrom may be wrung. No pure-browed pensive nymph his Muse shall be, An amazon of thought with sovereign eyes, Whose kiss was poison, man-brained, worldy-wise, Inspired that elfin, delicate harmony. Rich gain for us! But with him is it well? The poet who must sound earth, heaven, and hell!
Emma Lazarus's other poems:
English Poetry. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org