Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
The Immortal Mind
By Lord Byron (1788–1824)
 
WHEN coldness wraps this suffering clay,
  Ah, whither strays the immortal mind?
It cannot die, it cannot stay,
  But leaves its darkened dust behind.
Then, unembodied, doth it trace        5
  By steps each planet’s heavenly way?
Or fill at once the realms of space,
  A thing of eyes, that all survey?
 
Eternal, boundless, undecayed,
  A thought unseen, but seeing all,        10
All, all in earth, or skies displayed,
  Shall it survey, shall it recall:
Each fainter trace that memory holds,
  So darkly of departed years,
In one broad glance the soul beholds,        15
  And all, that was, at once appears.
 
Before creation peopled earth,
  Its eyes shall roll through chaos back;
And where the farthest heaven had birth,
  The spirit trace its rising track.        20
And where the future mars or makes,
  Its glance dilate o’er all to be,
While sun is quenched or system breaks,
  Fixed in its own eternity.
 
Above or love, hope, hate, or fear,        25
  It lives all passionless and pure:
An age shall fleet like earthly year;
  Its years as moments shall endure.
Away, away, without a wing,
  O’er all, through all, its thoughts shall fly;        30
A nameless and eternal thing,
  Forgetting what it was to die.
 
 
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