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OR THE POET'S FORETHOUGHT
OF Prometheus, how undaunted
Beautiful is the tradition
Of that flight through heavenly portals, The old classic superstition
Of the theft and the transmission
First the deed of noble daring,
All is but a symbol painted
Of the Poet, Prophet, Seer;
In their feverish exultations,
In their triumph and their yearning,
In their words among the nations,
Shall it, then, be unavailing,
All this toil for human culture? Through the cloud-rack, dark and trailing, Must they see above them sailing
O'er life's barren crags the vulture?
Such a fate as this was Dante's,
But the glories so transcendent.
That around their memories cluster, And, on all their steps attendant, Make their darkened lives resplendent With such gleams of inward lustre !
All the melodies mysterious,
Through the dreary darkness chaunted;
Thoughts in attitudes imperious,
Voices soft, and deep, and serious,
Words that whispered, songs that haunted!
All the soul in rapt suspension,
Ah, Prometheus! heaven-scaling!
Though to all there is not given
Strength for such sublime endeavor, Thus to scale the walls of heaven, And to leaven with fiery leaven
All the hearts of men for ever;
Yet all bards, whose hearts unblighted