Ralph Waldo Emerson: Hermione


On a mound an Arab lay, And sung his sweet regrets And told his amulets: The summer bird His sorrow heard, And, when he heaved a sigh profound, The sympathetic swallow swept the ground.  'If it be, as they said, she was not fair, Beauty's not beautiful to me, But sceptred genius, aye inorbed, Culminating in her sphere. This Hermione absorbed The lustre of the land and ocean, Hills and islands, cloud and tree, In her form and motion.  'I ask no bauble miniature, Nor ringlets dead Shorn from her comely head, Now that morning not disdains Mountains and the misty plains Her colossal portraiture; They her heralds be, Steeped in her quality, And singers of her fame Who is their Muse and dame.  'Higher, dear swallows! mind not what I say. Ah! heedless how the weak are strong, Say, was it just, In thee to frame, in me to trust, Thou to the Syrian couldst belong?  'I am of a lineage That each for each doth fast engage; In old Bassora's schools, I seemed Hermit vowed to books and gloom,— Ill-bestead for gay bridegroom. I was by thy touch redeemed; When thy meteor glances came, We talked at large of worldly fate, And drew truly every trait.  'Once I dwelt apart, Now I live with all; As shepherd's lamp on far hill-side Seems, by the traveller espied, A door into the mountain heart, So didst thou quarry and unlock Highways for me through the rock.  'Now, deceived, thou wanderest In strange lands unblest; And my kindred come to soothe me. Southwind is my next of blood; He is come through fragrant wood, Drugged with spice from climates warm, And in every twinkling glade, And twilight nook, Unveils thy form. Out of the forest way Forth paced it yesterday; And when I sat by the watercourse, Watching the daylight fade, It throbbed up from the brook.  'River and rose and crag and bird, Frost and sun and eldest night, To me their aid preferred, To me their comfort plight;— "Courage! we are thine allies, And with this hint be wise,— The chains of kind The distant bind; Deed thou doest she must do, Above her will, be true; And, in her strict resort To winds and waterfalls And autumn's sunlit festivals, To music, and to music's thought, Inextricably bound, She shall find thee, and be found. Follow not her flying feet; Come to us herself to meet."'