Beauty (Wilcox)

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For works with similar titles, see Beauty.
Beauty
by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
From Poems of Optimism (1919)

The search for beauty is the search for God
Who is All Beauty. He who seeks shall find.
And all along the paths my feet have trod,
I have sought hungrily with heart and mind,
   And open eyes for beauty, everywhere.
   Lo! I have found the world is very fair.
The search for beauty is the search for God.

Beauty was first revealed to me by stars,
   Before I saw it in my mother’s eyes,
Or, seeing, sensed it beauty, I was stirred
To awe and wonder by those orbs of light
   All palpitant against empurpled skies.
They spoke a language to my childish heart
Of mystery and splendour, and of space,
Friendly with gracious, unseen presences.
Beauty was first revealed to me by stars.

Sunsets enlarged the meaning of the word.
   There was a window looking to the west;
Beyond it, wide Wisconsin fields of grain,
And then a hill, whereon white flocks of clouds
   Would gather in the afternoon to rest.
And when the sun went down behind that hill
What scenes of glory spread before my sight;
What beauty - beauty, absolute, supreme!
Sunsets enlarged the meaning of that word.

Clover in blossom, red and honey-sweet,
   In summer billowed like a crimson sea
Across the meadow lands. One day, I stood
Breast-high amidst its waves, and heard the hum
   Of myriad bees, that had gone mad like me
With fragrance and with beauty. Over us,
A loving sun smiled from a cloudless sky,
While a bold breeze kissed lightly as it passed,
Clover in blossom, red and honey-sweet.

Autumn spoke loudly of the beautiful.
   And in the gallery of Nature hung
Colossal pictures hard against the sky,
Set forests gorgeous with a hundred hues;
   And with each morning, some new wonder flung
Before the startled world; some daring shade,
Some strange, new scheme of colour and of form.
Autumn spoke loudly of the beautiful.

Winter, though rude, is delicate in art -
   More delicate than Summer or than fall
(Even as rugged man is more refined
In vital things than woman). Winter’s touch
   On Nature seemed most beautiful of all -
That evanescent beauty of the frost
On window panes; of clean, fresh, fallen snow;
Of white, white sunlight on the ice-draped trees.
Winter, though rude, is delicate in art.

Morning! The word itself is beautiful,
   And the young hours have many gifts to give
That feed the soul with beauty. He who keeps
His days for labour and his nights for sleep
   Wakes conscious of the joy it is to live,
And brings from that mysterious Land of Dreams
A sense of beauty that illumines earth.
Morning! The word itself is beautiful.

The search for beauty is the search for God.


This work is in the public domain in the United States because it was published before January 1, 1923.

The author died in 1919, so this work is also in the public domain in countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 80 years or less. This work may also be in the public domain in countries and areas with longer native copyright terms that apply the rule of the shorter term to foreign works.