Ralph Waldo Emerson: I


There are beggars in Iran and Araby, SAID was hungrier than all; Hafiz said he was a fly That came to every festival. He came a pilgrim to the Mosque On trail of camel and caravan, Knew every temple and kiosk Out from Mecca to Ispahan; Northward he went to the snowy hills, At court he sat in the grave Divan. His music was the south-wind's sigh, His lamp, the maiden's downcast eye, And ever the spell of beauty came And turned the drowsy world to flame. By lake and stream and gleaming hall And modest copse and the forest tall, Where'er he went, the magic guide Kept its place by the poet's side. Said melted the days like cups of pearl, Served high and low, the lord and the churl, Loved harebells nodding on a rock, A cabin hung with curling smoke, Ring of axe or hum of wheel Or gleam which use can paint on steel, And huts and tents; nor loved he less Stately lords in palaces, Princely women hard to please, Fenced by form and ceremony, Decked by courtly rites and dress And etiquette of gentilesse. But when the mate of the snow and wind, He left each civil scale behind: Him wood-gods fed with honey wild And of his memory beguiled. He loved to watch and wake When the wing of the south-wind whipt the lake And the glassy surface in ripples brake And fled in pretty frowns away Like the flitting boreal lights, Rippling roses in northern nights, Or like the thrill of Aeolian strings In which the sudden wind-god rings. In caves and hollow trees he crept And near the wolf and panther slept. He came to the green ocean's brim And saw the wheeling sea-birds skim, Summer and winter, o'er the wave, Like creatures of a skiey mould, Impassible to heat or cold. He stood before the tumbling main With joy too tense for sober brain; He shared the life of the element, The tie of blood and home was rent: As if in him the welkin walked, The winds took flesh, the mountains talked, And he the bard, a crystal soul Sphered and concentric with the whole.