Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
By John Sterling (1806–1844)
WAIL for Dædalus, all that is fairest!
All that is tuneful in air or wave!
Shapes whose beauty is truest and rarest,
Haunt with your lamps and spells his grave!
Statues, bend your heads in sorrow,        5
Ye that glance ’mid ruins old,
That know not a past, nor expect a morrow
On many a moonlight Grecian wold!
By sculptured cave and speaking river,
Thee, Dædalus, oft the Nymphs recall;        10
The leaves with a sound of winter quiver,
Murmur thy name, and withering fall.
Yet are thy visions in soul the grandest
Of all that crowd on the tear-dimmed eye,
Though, Dædalus, thou no more commandest        15
New stars to that ever-widening sky.
Ever thy phantoms arise before us,
Our loftier brothers, but one in blood;
By bed and table they lord it o’er us,
With looks of beauty and words of good.        20
Calmly they show us mankind victorious
O’er all that’s aimless, blind, and base;
Their presence has made our nature glorious,
Unveiling our night’s illumined face.
Wail for Dædalus, Earth and Ocean!        25
Stars and Sun, lament for him!
Ages quake in strange commotion!
All ye realms of Life be dim!
Wail for Dædalus, awful Voices,
From earth’s deep centre Mankind appall!        30
Seldom ye sound, and then Death rejoices,
For he knows that then the mightiest fall.

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