Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
To the Rainbow
By Thomas Campbell (1777–1844)
 
TRIUMPHAL arch, that fill’st the sky
  When storms prepare to part,
I ask not proud philosophy
  To teach me what thou art.
 
Still seem as to my childhood’s sight,        5
  A midway station given,
For happy spirits to alight
  Betwixt the earth and heaven.
 
Can all that optics teach unfold
  Thy form to please me so,        10
As when I dreamed of gems and gold
  Hid in thy radiant bow?
 
And yet, fair bow, no fabling dreams,
  But words of the Most High,
Have told why first thy robe of beams        15
  Was woven in the sky.
 
When o’er the green, undeluged earth
  Heaven’s covenant thou didst shine,
How came the world’s gray fathers forth
  To watch thy sacred sign!        20
 
And when its yellow lustre smiled
  O’er mountains yet untrod,
Each mother held aloft her child
  To bless the bow of God.
 
Methinks, thy jubilee to keep,        25
  The first-made anthem rang
On earth, delivered from the deep,
  And the first poet sang.
 
The earth to thee her incense yields,
  The lark thy welcome sings,        30
When, glittering in the freshened fields,
  The snowy mushroom springs.
 
How glorious is thy girdle cast
  O’er mountain, tower, and town,
Or mirrored in the ocean vast,        35
  A thousand fathoms down!
 
As fresh in yon horizon dark,
  As young thy beauties seem,
As when the eagle from the ark
  First sported in thy beam.        40
 
For, faithful to its sacred page,
  Heaven still rebuilds thy span;
Nor lets the type grow pale with age,
  That first spoke peace to man.
 
 
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