Verse > Anthologies > Samuel Kettell, ed. > Specimens of American Poetry
Samuel Kettell, ed.  Specimens of American Poetry.  1829.
To the Clouds
By Oliver C. Wyman
YE, whose dark foldings are the throne
And palace of the monarch—Storm—
Ye, whose refulgent draperies shone
Above, ere earth or wave had form;
And spreading like a sea of gold,        5
O’er chaos, beauty threw and grace
On graceless things; and proudly told
Of him who gave ye shape and place.
Hail! Hail! I greet ye with a smile;
For ye to me speak words of power;        10
And bear my thoughts, from visions vile,
Back to creation’s natal hour.
Ye seem the monuments of things
And ages pass’d with time away;
To ye my sighing spirit clings,—        15
Memorials of the ancient day!
The deep and muttering thunder breathes—
Your voices murmur in mine ear;
The awful lightning, flashing, wreathes
Your brows in dazzling smiles severe;        20
The rain-drops from your bosoms burst
In torrents o’er earth’s spreading flame—
Ye seem to weep, that sin hath cursed
And doom’d the fallen race of men.
What if your changing shadows take        25
New fashionings from midnight’s shroud!
What if the lights of morning break
Without a trace of evening’s cloud!
Ye do not speak the less of Him,
And of the world’s primeval birth,        30
Than if ye moveless stood—Ye dim
And threatening curtains of the earth!
Doth not the bright and scented flower
Decay and die in winter’s gloom!
Doth not returning summer’s hour        35
Revive and wake its fragrant bloom!
And, from the natal hour of light,
Have ye not learn’d to waste and fly
Before the conquering sunbeam’s might,
And clasp ye not again the sky!        40
Memorials of His power, who sees
Earth, air, and ocean, time and space;
Who gilds with leafy crowns the trees,
And tears the mountain from its base;
Who bids fair summer deck the earth,        45
When winter’s form its beauty shrouds;
And wakes the sparrow’s song of mirth:—
His subjects hail! Illumined clouds!

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