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Poem by Paul Hamilton Hayne

* * *

AN idle poet, dreaming in the sun,
One given to much unhallowed vagrancy
Of thought and step; who, when he comes to die.
In the broad world can point to nothing done;
No chartered corporations, no streets paved
With very princely stone-work, no vast file
Of warehouses, no slowly-hoarded pile
Of priceless treasure, no proud sceptre waved
O'er potent realms of stock, no magic art
Lavished on curious gins, or works of steam;
Only a few wild songs that melt the heart,
Only the glow of some unearthly dream,
Embodied and immortal; what are these?
Sneers the sage world; chaff, smoke, vain phantasies!
Yet stock depreciates, even banks decay,
Merchant and architect are lowly laid
In purple palls, and the shrewd lords of trade
Lament, for they were wiser in their day
Than the clear sons of light; but prithee, how
Doth stand the matter, when the years have fled;
What means yon concourse thronging where the dead
Old singer sleeps; say! do they seek him now?
Now that his dust is scattered on the breath
Of every wind that blows; what meaneth this?
It means, thou sapient citizen, that death
Heralds the bard's true life, as with a kiss,
Wakens two immortalities; then bow
To the world's scorn, O poet, with calm brow.

Paul Hamilton Hayne

Paul Hamilton Hayne's other poems:
  1. A Christmas Lyric
  2. O God! What Glorious Seasons Bless Thy World!
  3. A Lyrical Picture
  4. A Phantom in the Clouds
  5. УThe Old Man of the SeaФ

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