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.
 
Questionings
By Frederic Henry Hedge (1805–1890)
 
HATH this world, without me wrought,
Other substance than my thought?
Lives it by my sense alone,
Or by essence of its own?
Will its life, with mine begun,        5
Cease to be when that is done,
Or another consciousness
With the self-same forms impress?
 
Doth yon fireball, poised in air,
Hang by my permission there?        10
Are the clouds that wander by
But the offspring of mine eye,
Born with every glance I cast,
Perishing when that is past?
And those thousand, thousand eyes,        15
Scattered through the twinkling skies,
Do they draw their life from mine,
Or of their own beauty shine?
 
Now I close my eyes, my ears,
And creation disappears;        20
Yet if I but speak the word,
All creation is restored.
Or, more wonderful, within
New creations do begin;
Hues more bright and forms more rare        25
Than reality doth wear
Flash across my inward sense,
Born of the mind’s omnipotence.
 
Soul! that all informest, say!
Shall these glories pass away?        30
Will those planets cease to blaze
When these eyes no longer gaze
And the life of things be o’er
When these pulses beat no more?
 
Thought! that in me works and lives,—        35
Life to all things living gives,—
Art thou not thyself, perchance,
But the universe in trance?
A reflection inly flung
By that world thou fanciedst sprung        40
From thyself—thyself a dream—
Of the world’s thinking thou the theme.
 
Be it thus, or be thy birth
From a source above the earth—
Be thou matter, be thou mind,        45
In thee alone myself I find,
And through thee alone, for me,
Hath this world reality.
Therefore, in thee will I live,
To thee all myself will give,        50
Losing still, that I may find
This bounded self in boundless Mind.
 
 
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