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“In Youth I Have Known One”

How often we forget all time, when loneAdmiring Nature’s universal throne;Her woods—her wilds—her mountains-the intenseReply of Hers to Our intelligence!

I

 
In youth I have known one with whom the Earth
   In secret communing held—as he with it,
In daylight, and in beauty, from his birth:
   Whose fervid, flickering torch of life was lit
From the sun and stars, whence he had drawn forth
   A passionate light such for his spirit was fit
And yet that spirit knew—not in the hour
   Of its own fervor—what had o’er it power.
 

II

 
Perhaps it may be that my mind is wrought
   To a fever1 by the moonbeam that hangs o’er,
But I will half believe that wild light fraught
   With more of sovereignty than ancient lore
Hath ever told—or is it of a thought
   The unembodied essence, and no more
That with a quickening spell doth o’er us pass
   As dew of the night-time, o’er the summer grass?
 

III

 
Doth o’er us pass, when, as th’ expanding eye
   To the loved object—so the tear to the lid
Will start, which lately slept in apathy?
   And yet it need not be—(that object) hid
From us in life—but common—which doth lie
   Each hour before us—but then only bid
With a strange sound, as of a harp-string broken
   T’ awake us—’tis a symbol and a token
 

IV

 
Of what in other worlds shall be—and given
   In beauty by our God, to those alone
Who otherwise would fall from life and Heaven
   Drawn by their heart’s passion, and that tone,
That high tone of the spirit which hath striven
   Though not with Faith—with godliness—whose throne
With desperate energy ’t hath beaten down;
   Wearing its own deep feeling as a crown.

1. Query “fervor”?—ED.

Poe’s motto preceeding the poem is from Bryon’s Island

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