Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
~ Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
~ From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
~ If I lack’d anything.
‘A guest,’ I answer’d, worthy to be here’:
~ Love said, ‘You shall be he.’
‘I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
~ I cannot look on Thee.’
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
~ ‘Who made the eyes but I?’
‘Truth, Lord: but I have marr’d them: let my shame
~ Go where it doth deserve.’
‘And know you not,’ says Love, ‘Who bore the blame?’
~ ‘My dear, then I will serve.’
‘You must sit down,’ says Love, ‘and taste my meat.’
~ So I did sit and eat.
There is a dish to hold the sea,
~ A brazier to contain the sun,
A compass for the galaxy,
~ A voice to wake the dead and done!
That minister of ministers,
~ Imagination, gathers up
The undiscovered Universe,
~ Like jewels in a jasper cup.
Its flame can mingle north and south;
~ Its accent with the thunder strive;
The ruddy sentence of its mouth
~ Can make the ancient dead alive.
The mart of power, the fount of will,
~ The form and mold of every star,
The source and bound of good and ill,
~ The key of all the things that are,
Imagination, new and strange
~ In every age, can turn the year;
Can shift the poles and lightly change
~ The mood of men, the world’s career.
(April 11, 1857 – March 23, 1909)