by: Ralph Waldo Emerson
- ONG I follow'd
- I could never reach their sides;
- Their step is forth and, ere the day
- Breaks, up their leaguer and away.
- Keen my sense, my heart was young,
- Right goodwill my sinews strung,
- But no speed of mine avails
- To hunt upon their shining trails.
- On and away, their hasting feet
- Make the morning proud and sweet;
- Flowers they strew,--I catch the scent;
- Or tone of silver instrument
- Leaves on the wind melodious trace;
- Yet I could never see their face.
- On easter hills I see their smokes
- Mix'd with mist by distant lochs.
- I met many travellers,
- Who the road had surely kept;
- They saw not my fine revellers--
- These had cross'd them while they slept.
- Some had heard their fair report
- In the country or the court:
- Fleetest couriers alive
- Never yet could once arrive,
- As they went or they return'd,
- At the house where these sojourn'd.
- Sometimes their strong speed they slacken
- Though they are not overtaken;
- In sleep their jubilant troop is near--
- I tuneful voices overhear,
- It may be in wood or waste--
- At unawares 'tis come and past.
- Their near camp my spirit knows
- By signs gracious as rainbows.
- I thenceforward and long after
- Listen for their harplike laughter,
- And carry in my heart, for days,
- Peace that hallows rudest ways.
MORE POEMS BY RALPH WALDO EMERSON
"Fore-runners" is reprinted
from Early Poems of Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph Waldo Emerson.
New York: Thomas Y. Crowell & Company, 1899.