Verse > Anthologies > The World’s Best Poetry > Vol. VII. Descriptive: Narrative
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Bliss Carman, et al., eds.  The World’s Best Poetry.
Volume VII. Descriptive: Narrative.  1904.
 
Descriptive Poems: I. Personal: Great Writers
Byron
Robert Pollok (c. 1798–1827)
 
From “The Course of Time,” Book IV.

  HE touched his harp, and nations heard entranced,
As some vast river of unfailing source,
Rapid, exhaustless, deep, his numbers flowed,
And openèd new fountains in the human heart.
Where Fancy halted, weary in her flight,        5
In other men, his fresh as morning rose,
And soared untrodden heights, and seemed at home,
Where angels bashful looked. Others, though great,
Beneath their argument seemed struggling; whiles
He, from above descending, stooped to touch        10
The loftiest thought; and proudly stooped, as though
It scarce deserved his verse. With Nature’s self
He seemed an old acquaintance, free to jest
At will with all her glorious majesty.
He laid his hand upon “the Ocean’s mane,”        15
And played familiar with his hoary locks;
Stood on the Alps, stood on the Apennines,
And with the thunder talked as friend to friend;
And wove his garland of the lightning’s wing,
In sportive twist,—the lightning’s fiery wing,        20
Which, as the footsteps of the dreadful God,
Marching upon the storm in vengeance, seemed;
Then turned, and with the grasshopper, who sung
His evening song beneath his feet, conversed.
Suns, moons, and stars, and clouds his sisters were;        25
Rocks, mountains, meteors, seas, and winds, and storms
His brothers, younger brothers, whom he scarce
As equals deemed. All passions of all men,
The wild and tame, the gentle and severe;
All thoughts, all maxims, sacred and profane;        30
All creeds; all seasons, time, eternity;
All that was hated, and all that was dear;
All that was hoped, all that was feared, by man,—
He tossed about, as tempest-withered leaves;
Then, smiling, looked upon the wreck he made.        35
With terror now he froze the cowering blood,
And now dissolved the heart in tenderness;
Yet would not tremble, would not weep himself;
But back into his soul retired, alone,
Dark, sullen, proud, gazing contemptuously        40
On hearts and passions prostrate at his feet.
 
 
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