Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
II. Origin of the Soul
By Sir Aubrey de Vere (1788–1846)
IT cannot be that by traduction come
  Our souls, like growth of the corporeal frame:
This earth is to the flesh a natural home;
  But spirit is of heaven, from whence it came,
And tends aspiring,—an ethereal flame,        5
  Sacred, as are the fires of martyrdom!
All else is mystery. We hear a name,
  But meet no phantom risen from the tomb.
What shall we think then? Ere this world was born,
  Were souls, countless as beams of stellar light,        10
  Called forth? or as our flesh demands? The night
Of childhood, and man’s meditative morn,
  Thrill with vague memories; and blind impulse brings
  Shadows perplexed of pre-existing things!

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