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The James Thomson Poetry Works

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FOR I MUST SING
OF ALL I FEEL
AND KNOW

BY JAMES THOMSON

For I must sing of all I feel and know,
   Waiting with Memnon passive near the palms,
Until the heavenly light doth dawn and grow
   And thrill my silence into mystic psalms;
From unknown realms the wind streams sad or gay,
The trees give voice responsive to its sway.

For I must sing: of mountains, deserts, seas,
   Of rivers ever flowing, ever flowing;
Of beasts and birds, of grass and flowers and trees
   Forever fading and forever growing;
Of calm and storm, of night and eve and noon,
Of boundless space, and sun and stars and moon;

And of the secret sympathies that bind
   All beings to their wondrous dwelling-place;
And of the perfect Unity enshrined
   In omnipresence throughout time and space,
Alike informing with its full control
The dust, the stars, the worm, the human soul;

And most supremely of my human kin --
   Their thoughts and deeds, their valors and their fears,
Their griefs and joys, their virtue and their sin,
   Their feasts and wars, their cradles and their biers,
Their temples, prisons, homes and ships and marts,
The subtlest windings of their brains and hearts.

So rich and sweet is Life. And what is Death? --
   The tranquil slumbers dear and strange and boon
That feed at whiles our waking being's breath;
   The solemn midnight of this glorious noon,
With countless distant stars, and each a sun,
Revealed harmonious with our daily one.

1857

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