Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. IV. The Higher Life
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume IV. The Higher Life.  1904.
VII. Death: Immortality: Heaven
Thoughts of Heaven
Robert Nicoll (1814–1837)
HIGH thoughts!
  They come and go,
    Like the soft breathings of a listening maiden,
  While round me flow
    The winds, from woods and fields with gladness laden:        5
When the corn’s rustle on the ear doth come—
When the eve’s beetle sounds its drowsy hum—
When the stars, dew-drops of the summer sky,
Watch over all with soft and loving eye—
        While the leaves quiver        10
        By the lone river,
          And the quiet heart
              From depths doth call
              And garners all—
          Earth grows a shadow        15
              Forgotten whole,
          And heaven lives
              In the blessèd soul!
High thoughts
  They are with me        20
    When, deep within the bosom of the forest,
  Thy mourning melody
    Abroad into the sky, thou, throstle! pourest.
When the young sunbeams glance among the trees—
When on the ear comes the soft song of bees—        25
When every branch has its own favorite bird
And songs of summer from each thicket heard!—
        Where the owl flitteth,
        Where the roe sitteth,
          And holiness        30
              Seems sleeping there;
              While nature’s prayer
          Goes up to heaven
              In purity,
          Till all is glory        35
              And joy to me!
High thoughts!
  They are my own
    When I am resting on a mountain’s bosom,
  And see below me strown        40
    The huts and homes where humble virtues blossom;
When I can trace each streamlet through the meadow,
When I can follow every fitful shadow—
When I can watch the winds among the corn,
And see the waves along the forest borne;        45
        Where blue-bell and heather
        Are blooming together,
          And far doth come
              The Sabbath bell,
              O’er wood and fell;        50
          I hear the beating
              Of nature’s heart:
          Heaven is before me—
              God! thou art.
High thoughts!        55
  They visit us
    In moments when the soul is dim and darkened;
  They come to bless,
    After the vanities to which we hearkened:
When weariness hath come upon the spirit—        60
(Those hours of darkness which we all inherit)—
Bursts there not through a glint of warm sunshine,
A wingèd thought which bids us not repine?
        In joy and gladness,
        In mirth and sadness,        65
          Come signs and tokens;
              Life’s angel brings,
              Upon its wings,
          Those bright communings
              The soul doth keep—        70
          Those thoughts of heaven
              So pure and deep!

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