Stand on the heights, O Poet! nor come down
Amid the wise old serpents, coiled around
The Tree of Knowledge in Academics.
The Poet’s place is by the Tree of Life,
Whose fruit turns men to Gods, and makes them live,
Not seeking buried treasure in the tombs.
Leave the dim records of a by‐gone age
To those great Archivists, who flash the torch
Of Truth along Time’s mouldering records,
Illuminating all the fading Past,
Like golden letters on an ancient scroll.
The Poet soars with eagles, breathes pure ether,
Basks in the light that suns the mountain peak,
And sings, from spirit altitudes, such strains,
That all the toilers in life’s rugged furrows
Are forced, for once, to lift the bow’d‐down head,
And look on Heaven. Flashes from Poet’s words
Electric light, strong, swift, and sudden, like
The clash of thunder‐clouds, by which men read
God’s writing legibly on human hearts.
On reading his Essay on the Collation of Certain Ancient Spanish Manuscripts, printed from the proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy.
O Poet‐Prophets! God hath sent ye forth
With lips made consecrate by altar fire,
To guide the Future, not to tread the Past;
To chaunt, in glorious music, man’s great hymn,
The watchword of humanity—Advance!
Advance in Wisdom, Nobleness, and Truth,
High aims, high purposes, and self‐control,
Which is self‐reverence, knowing we shall stand
With crownéd angels before God’s great throne
The Poet nerves the arm to do great deeds,
Inspires great thoughts, flings o’er the tears of life
The rainbow arch, to save us from despair;
Quickens the stagnant energies to act,
Bears the advancing banner of the age,
Full in the van of all Humanity;
And, with a strength, God‐given, rolls the stone,
As angels may, from off the Sepulchre
Where souls lie bound, bidding them rise and live.
O Poet! preach this Gospel once again
True Life, true Liberty, God’s gifts to man;
Freedom from servile aims and selfish ends,
That swathe and bind the kingly spirit down,
Like Egypt’s grave‐clothes on the royal dead;
Scatter the golden grain of lofty thoughts
From which spring hero‐deeds—that so, in truth,
Our Future may be nobler than our Past,
In all that makes a nation’s life divine—
This is the Poet’s mission, therefore—Thine.