by: Richard Watson Gilder
the spirit of the morning sea,
- I am the awakening and the glad surprise;
I fill the skies
- With laughter and with light.
- Behold the white
- Wide beams three-fold that from the hidden sun
- Rise swift and far,--
- One where Orion keeps
- His armèd watch, and one
- To the midmost heaven upleaps;
- The third blots out the steadfast Northern Star!
- I am the wind that shakes the glittering wave,
- Hurries the snowy spume along the shore,
- And dies at last in some far, murmuring cave.
- My voice thou hearest in the breakers roar--
- That sound that never failed since time began
- And first around the world the shining tumult ran.
- I light the sea and wake the sleeping land.
- My footsteps on the hills
- Make music, and my hand
- Plays like a harpers on the windy pines.
- With the wind and the day
- I follow round the world -- away! away!
- Wide over lake and plain my sunlight shines,
- And every wave and every blade of grass
- Doth know me as I pass.
- And me the western-sloping mountains know, and me
- The far-off, golden sea.
- O sea, whereon the passing sun doth lie
- O man, who watchest by that golden sea!
- Weep not, -- Oh! weep not thou, but lift thine eye
- And see me radiant in the sunset sky!
- But I love not the night
- Save when the stars are bright,
- Or when the moon
- Fills the white air with silence like a tune.
- Yea, even the night is mine --
- When the Northern Lights outshine,
- And all the wild heavens throb in ecstasy divine ;--
- Yea, mine deep midnight when the black sky lowers,
- The sea burns white and breaks on the shore in starry showers.
- I am the laughter of the new-born child,
- Upon whose sleep the heavenly angels smiled.
- I am all sweet first things that are:
- First songs of birds, not perfect as at last--
- Broken and incomplete--
- But sweet, oh, sweet!
- And I the first faint glimmering of a star
- To the wrecked ship, that tells the storm is past;
- The first keen smells and stirrings of the Spring;
- First snow-flakes, and first May-flowers after snow;
- The silver glow
- Of the new moons ethereal ring;
- The song the morning stars together made,
- And the first kiss of lovers under the first June shade.
- My sword is quick, my arm is strong to smite
- In the dread joy and fury of the fight.
- I am with those who win, not those who fly;
- With those who live I am, not those who die.
- Nay -- nay -- that word
- Where I am is unheard;
- For I am the spirit of youth that cannot change
- Nor cease, nor suffer woe;
- And I am the spirit of beauty that doth range
- Through natural forms and motions, and each show
- Of outward loveliness. With me hath birth
- All gentleness and joy in all the earth.
- Raphael knew me, and showed the world my face;
- Me Homer knew, and all the singing race,
- For I am the spirit of light, and life, and mirth.
MORE POEMS BY RICHARD WATSON GILDER
"Pan" is reprinted from
Scribner's Monthly, vol. 13, issue 3 (January 1877).