Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > Anthology of Massachusetts Poets
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. (1878–1962).  Anthology of Massachusetts Poets.  1922.
 
To Imagination
 
Dorothea Lawrence Mann
 
 
Suggested by Maxfield Parrish’s “Air Castles”
 
 
O BEAUTEOUS boy a-dream, what visions sought
  Of pictures magical thy eyes unfold,
What triumphs of celestial wonders wrought,
  What marvels from a breath of beauty rolled!
Skyward and seaward on the clouds are scrolled,        5
  A mystic imagery of castled thought,
A thousand worlds to lose,—or win and mould—
  A radiant iridescence swiftly caught
Of ever-changing glory, fancy-fraught.
 
Blue wonder of the sea and luminous sky,        10
  A thousand wonders in thy dreamlit face,—
Eyes that behold afar the turrets high
  Of Ilium, and the transient mortal grace
Of Deirdre’s sadness, all the conquering race
  Of Athens,—eyes that saw Eden’s beauty lie        15
In passionate adoration—visions trace
  Across the tender brooding of the sigh
That wrecked a city and made chieftains die.
 
Forward not backward turns the mystic shine
  Of those far-seeing orbs that track the gleam—        20
The fleecy marvel of the cloud is line
  On line the wizard tracery of a dream.
O lad, who buildest not of things that seem,
  Beyond what bounds of visioning divine
Came that far smile, from what long-strayed sunbeam        25
  Caught thou the radiance, from what fostering vine
The power to build and mould the deep design?
 
Knowest thou the secret that thy brush would tell,
  Is all the dream a bubbled splendor white,
Beyond those castles cloud-bound, does there dwell        30
  The eternal silence of the dark—or light?
Will thy hand hold the pen which shall indict
  The symboled mystery—write the final knell
Of rainbow fancy—is the distant sight
  A nothingless encircled by a spell        35
Of gleaming bubbles wrought of beauty’s shell?
 
In vain to question, where the mystery
  Of Youth’s short golden dream is lord and king.
The eyes that farthest gaze in ecstasy,
  Were never meant to paint the immortal thing        40
They see, nor understand the joy they bring.
  The misty baubles of the sky and sea
Sail on. Dream still, bright-visioned boy, and fling
  The glittering mantle of thy thoughts that flee,
Weaving us evermore thy shining pageantry.        45
 

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