Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
By Helen Hunt Jackson (1830–1885)
O JOY, hast thou a shape?
Hast thou a breath?
How fillest thou the soundless air?
Tell me the pillars of thy house!
What rest they on? Do they escape        5
The victory of Death?
And are they fair
Eternally, who enter in thy house?
O Joy, thou viewless spirit, canst thou dare
To tell the pillars of thy house?        10
On adamant of pain
Before the earth
Was born of sea, before the sea,
Yea, and before the light, my house
Was built. None know what loss, what gain,        15
Attends each travail birth.
No soul could be
At peace when it had entered in my house,
If the foundations it could touch or see,
Which stay the pillars of my house!        20

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