I read good books. My heart despairs.
In vain I try to dress
My soul in feelings like to theirs--
These men of holiness.
My thoughts, like doves, abroad I fling
Into a country fair:
Wind-baffled, back, with tired wing,
They to my ark repair.
Or comes a sympathetic thrill
With long-departed saint,
A feeble dawn, without my will,
Of feelings old and quaint,
As of a church's holy night,
With low-browed chapels round,
Where common sunshine dares not light
On the too sacred ground,--
- glance at sunny fields of grain, One shout of child at play--
A merry melody drives amain
The one-toned chant away!
My spirit will not enter here
To haunt the holy gloom;
I gaze into a mirror mere,
A mirror, not a room.
- as a bird against the pane Will strike, deceived sore,
I think to enter, but remain
Outside the closed door.
- it will call for many a sigh If it be what it claims--
This book, so unlike earth and sky,
Unlike man's hopes and aims!--
To me a desert parched and bare--
In which a spirit broods
Whose wisdom I would gladly share
At cost of many goods!
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