Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VI. Fancy: Sentiment
Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VI. Fancy.  1904.
Poems of Sentiment: III. Memory
Blest Memory
Samuel Rogers (1763–1855)
From “The Pleasures of Memory”

  ETHEREAL power! who at the noon of night
Recall’st the far fled spirit of delight;
From whom that musing, melancholy mood
Which charms the wise, and elevates the good;
Blest Memory, hail! O grant the grateful muse,        5
Her pencil dipped in nature’s living hues,
To pass the clouds that round thy empire roll,
And trace its airy precincts in the soul.
  Lulled in the countless chambers of the brain,
Our thoughts are linked by many a hidden chain.        10
Awake but one, and lo, what myriads rise!
Each stamps its image as the other flies!
Each, as the various avenues of sense
Delight or sorrow to the soul dispense,
Brightens or fades; yet all, with magic art,        15
Control the latent fibres of the heart.
As studious Prospero’s mysterious spell
Drew every subject spirit to his cell,
Each, at thy call, advances or retires,
As judgment dictates, or the scene inspires.        20
Each thrills the seat of sense, that sacred source
Whence the fine nerves direct their mazy course,
And through the frame invisibly convey
The subtle, quick vibrations as they play.
  Hail, Memory, hail! in thy exhaustless mine        25
From age to age unnumbered treasures shine!
Thought and her shadowy brood thy call obey,
And place and time are subject to thy sway!
Thy pleasures most we feel when most alone;
The only pleasures we can call our own.        30
Lighter than air, hope’s summer visions die,
If but a fleeting cloud obscure the sky;
If but a beam of sober reason play,
Lo, fancy’s fairy frost-work melts away!
But can the wiles of art, the grasp of power,        35
Snatch the rich relics of a well spent hour?
These, when the trembling spirit wings her flight
Pour round her path a stream of living light;
And gild those pure and perfect realms of rest,
Where virtue triumphs, and her sons are blest!        40

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