Aesthetic Papers/Crawford's Orpheus
For ever passeth Beauty's form
To Nature's deep abyss:
Not always Love, unchanged and warm,
Dares with his lyre old Night to charm,
And win the faded bliss.
But always Poet's heart believeth,
Whatever Time may say,
There is no loss but Song retrieveth:
He is a coward-heart that leaveth
The Light of Life,—Death's prey.
Blest be the Poet's hand that toiled
To carve in lasting stone
The act that in all time hath foiled
Despair's terrific power, and spoiled
Destruction of his own.
Thus ever, from the vulgar day,
The Hero shades his eyes;
Peering through dim Obstruction's sway:—
Perchance, upon his darkened way
The cherished form may rise!
He sees her not! and what though low
Lies Cerberus overwrought,
His lyre hath quickened Lethe s flow,
Cast coolness o'er Cocytus' glow;
All this he heedeth not:
He only knows thou art not won—
The "perfect good and fair:"
The race of life is yet to run;
The only deed is yet undone;
The Hero still must dare.