Verse > Anthologies > George Willis Cooke, ed. > The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology
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George Willis Cooke, comp.  The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology.  1903.
 
The Eternal Pan
By Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
 
ALL the forms are fugitive,
But the substances survive.
Ever fresh the broad creation,
A divine improvisation,
From the heart of God proceeds,        5
A single will, a million deeds.
Once slept the world an egg of stone,
And pulse, and sound, and light was none;
And God said, “Throb!” and there was motion
And the vast mass became vast ocean.        10
Onward and on, the eternal Pan,
Who layeth the world’s incessant plan,
Halteth never in one shape,
But forever doth escape,
Like wave or flame, into new forms        15
Of gem, and air, of plants, and worms.
I, that to-day am a pine,
Yesterday was a bundle of grass.
He is free and libertine,
Pouring of his power the wine        20
To every age, to every race;
Unto every race and age
He emptieth the beverage;
Unto each and unto all,
Maker and original.        25
The world is the ring of his spells,
And the play of his miracles.
As he giveth to all to drink,
Thus or thus they are and think.
With one drop sheds form and feature;        30
With the next a special nature;
The third adds heat’s indulgent spark;
The fourth gives light which eats the dark;
Into the fifth himself he flings,
And conscious Law is King of kings.        35
As the bee through the garden ranges,
From world to world the godhead changes;
As the sheep go feeding in the waste,
From form to form He maketh haste;
This vault which glows immense with light        40
Is the inn where he lodges for a night.
What recks such Traveller if the bowers
Which bloom and fade like meadow flowers
A bunch of fragrant lilies be,
Or the stars of eternity?        45
Alike to him the better, the worse,—
The glowing angel, the outcast corse.
Thou metest him by centuries,
And lo! he passes like the breeze;
Thou seek’st in glade and galaxy,        50
He hides in pure transparency;
Thou askest in fountains and in fires,
He is the essence that inquires.
He is the axis of the star;
He is the sparkle of the spar;        55
He is the heart of every creature;
He is the meaning of each feature;
And his mind is the sky,
Than all it holds more deep, more high.
 
 
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