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Contemplation.



'They are all up - the innumerable stars -
And hold their place in heaven. My eyes have been
Searching the pearly depths through which they spring
Like beautiful creations, till I feel
As if it were a new and perfect world,
Waiting in silence for the word of God
To breathe it into motion. There they stand,
Shining in order, like a living hymn
Written in light, awaking at the breath
Of the celestial dawn, and praising Him
Who made them, with the harmony of spheres.
I would I had an angel's ear to list
That melody! I would that I might float
Up in that boundless element, and feel
Its ravishing vibrations, like a pulse
Beating in heaven! My spirit is athirst
For music - rarer music! I would bathe
My soul in a serener atmosphere
Than this! I long to mingle with the flock
Led by the "living waters," and lie down
In the "green pastures" of the better land!
When wilt thou break, dull fetter! When shall I
Gather my wings; and, like a rushing thought,
Stretch onward, star by star, up into heaven!'

Thus mused Alethe. She was one to whom
Life had been like the witching of a dream,
Of an untroubled sweetness. She was born
Of a high race, and laid upon the knee,
With her soft eye perusing listlessly
The fretted roof, or, on Mosaic floors,
Grasped at the tessellated squares, inwrought
With metals curiously. Her childhood pass'd
Like faery - amid fountains and green haunts -
Trying her little feet upon a lawn
Of velvet evenness, and hiding flowers
In her sweet bosom, as it were a fair
And pearly altar to crush incense on.
Her youth - oh! that was queenly! She was like
A dream of poetry that may not be
Written or told - exceeding beautiful!
And so came worshippers; and rank bow'd down,
And breathed upon her heart, as with a breath
Of pride, and bound her forehead gorgeously
With dazzling scorn, and gave unto her step
A majesty as if she trod the sea,
And the proud waves, unbidden, lifted her.
And so she grew to woman - her mere look
Strong as a monarch's signet, and her hand
The ambition of a kingdom.

From all this
Turn'd her high heart away! She had a mind,
Deep and immortal, and it would not feed
On pageantry. She thirsted for a spring
Of a serener element, and drank
Philosophy, and for a little while
She was allay'd - till, presently, it turn'd
Bitter within her, and her spirit grew
Faint for undying waters.

Then she came
To the pure fount of God - and is athirst
No more - save when the "fever of the world"
Falleth upon her, she will go, sometimes,
Out in the starlight quietness, and breathe
A holy aspiration after heaven!
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Submitted on August 03, 2020

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Nathaniel Parker Willis

Nathaniel Parker Willis, also known as N. P. Willis, was an American author, poet and editor who worked with several notable American writers including Edgar Allan Poe and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He became the highest-paid magazine writer of his day. For a time, he was the employer of former slave and future writer Harriet Jacobs. His brother was the composer Richard Storrs Willis and his sister wrote under the name Fanny Fern. Born in Portland, Maine, Willis came from a family of publishers. His grandfather Nathaniel Willis owned newspapers in Massachusetts and Virginia, and his father Nathaniel Willis was the founder of Youth's Companion, the first newspaper specifically for children. Willis developed an interest in literature while attending Yale College and began publishing poetry. After graduation, he worked as an overseas correspondent for the New York Mirror. He eventually moved to New York and began to build his literary reputation. Working with multiple publications, he was earning about $100 per article and between $5,000 and $10,000 per year. In 1846, he started his own publication, the Home Journal, which was eventually renamed Town & Country. Shortly after, Willis moved to a home on the Hudson River where he lived a semi-retired life until his death in 1867. more…

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