Verse > Anthologies > Alfred H. Miles, ed. > The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
Alfred H. Miles, ed.  The Sacred Poets of the Nineteenth Century.  1907.
 
Verses on Various Occasions.
I. Nature and Art
By John Henry Newman (1801–1890)
 
Ulcombe, September 1826
(For an Album)

“MAN goeth forth” with reckless trust
    Upon his wealth of mind,
As if in self a thing of dust
    Creative skill might find;
He schemes and toils; stone, wood, and ore        5
Subject or weapon of his power.
 
By arch and spire, by tower-girt heights,
    He would his boast fulfil;
By marble births, and mimic lights,—
    Yet lacks one secret still;        10
Where is the master-hand shall give
To breathe, to move, to speak, to live?
 
O take away this shade of might,
    The puny toil of man,
And let great Nature in my sight        15
    Unroll her gorgeous plan;
I cannot bear those sullen walls,
Those eyeless towers, those tongueless halls.
 
Art’s labour’d toys of highest name
    Are nerveless, cold, and dumb;        20
And man is fitted but to frame
    A coffin or a tomb;
Well suit when sense is pass’d away,
Such lifeless works the lifeless clay.
 
Here let me sit where wooded hills        25
    Skirt yon far-reaching plain;
While cattle bank its winding rills,
    And suns embrown its grain;
Such prospect is to me right dear,
For freedom, health, and joy are here.        30
 
There is a spirit ranging through
    The earth, the stream, the air;
Ten thousand shapes, garbs ever new,
    That restless One doth wear;
In colour, scent, and taste, and sound        35
The energy of life is found.
 
The leaves are rustling in the breeze,
    The bird renews her song;
From field to brook, o’er heath, o’er trees,
    The sunbeam glides along;        40
The insect, happy in its hour,
Floats softly by, or sips the flower.
 
Now dewy rain descends, and now
    Brisk showers the welkin shroud;
I care not, though with angry brow        45
    Frowns the red thunder cloud;
Let hail storm pelt, and lightning harm,
’Tis Nature’s work, and has its charm.
 
Ah! Lovely Nature! others dwell
    Full favour’d in thy court;        50
I of thy smiles but hear them tell,
    And feed on their report,
Catching what glimpse an Ulcombe yields
To strangers loitering in her fields.
 
I go where form has ne’er unbent        55
    The sameness of its sway;
Where iron rule, stern precedent,
    Mistreat the graceful day;
To pine as prisoner in his cell,
And yet be thought to love if well.        60
 
Yet so His high dispose has set,
    Who binds on each his part;
Though absent, I may cherish yet
    An Ulcombe of the heart;
Calm verdant hope divinely given,        65
And suns of peace, and scenes of heaven;—
 
A soul prepared His will to meet,
    Full fix’d His work to do;
Not labour’d into sudden heat,
    But inly born anew.—        70
So living Nature, not dull Art,
Shall plan my ways and rule my heart.
 
 
CONTENTS · BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD
  PREVIOUSNEXT  
 
Loading
Click here to shop the Bartleby Bookstore.

Shakespeare · Bible · Strunk · Anatomy · Nonfiction · Quotations · Reference · Fiction · Poetry
© 1993–2014 Bartleby.com · [Top 150] · Subjects · Titles · Authors