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.
 
Art-Service
By Augusta Cooper Bristol (1835–1910)
 
I WANDERED with an earnest heart
  Among the quarried depths of Thought,
And kindled by the poet’s art,
    I deftly wrought.
 
I wrought for Beauty; and the world        5
  Grew very green and smooth for me,
And blossom-banners hung unfurled
    On every tree.
 
Upon my heated forehead lay
  The cooling laurel, and my feet        10
Crushed honeyed fragrance out, the way
    Had grown so sweet.
 
And praise was servant of the ear,
  And love dropped kisses on the cheek,
And smiled a passion-thought too dear        15
    For tongue to speak.
 
But one day the ideal Good
  Baptized me with immortal youth;
And in sublimity of mood
    I wrought for Truth.        20
 
Oh then, instead of laurel crown
  The world entwined a thorny band,
And on my forehead pressed it down
    With heavy hand.
 
And looks that used to warm me, froze;        25
  I lost the cheer, the odor sweet,
The path of velvet; glaciers rose
    Before my feet.
 
Yet Truth the more divinely shone,
  As onward still I sought to press,        30
And gloriously proved her own
    Almightiness.
 
For girded in her cuirass strong,
  And lifted by her matchless arm,
Above the frozen peak of Wrong,        35
    In warmth and calm,
 
I sit, and white thoughts, lily pure,
  Like angels, close my heart around,
And fold me gently in, secure
    From cold or wound.        40
 
O kindred poet-soul, whose lays
  Of sweet word-music set in line
Are fashioned for the world’s poor praise
    And Beauty’s shrine,—
 
The martyr’s spirit-wing is strong!        45
  Choose thou a pinion that can rise
With Truth’s full freight of clarion-song
    And sweep the skies!
 
Then shall the thoughts that in thee burn,
  Flame-reaching, touch the thought divine;        50
And man may scoff, a world may spurn,
    But Heaven is thine.
 
 
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