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The World Beautiful

Study Nature, not books," said that inspired teacher, Louis Agassiz.

The poets do not bring you the fruit of conscious study, perhaps, for they do not analyze or dissect Dame Nature's methods; with them genius begets a higher instinct, and it is by a sort of divination that they interpret for us the power and grandeur, romance and witchery, beauty and mystery of "God's great out-of-doors." The born poet, like the born naturalist, seems to have additional senses. Emerson says of his friend Thoreau that he saw as with microscope and heard as with eartrumpet, while his memory was a photographic register of all he saw and heard; and Thoreau the naturalist might have said the same of Emerson the poet.

Glance at the succession of beautiful images in Shelley's "Cloud" or Aldrich's "Before the Rain"; lend your ear to the tinkle of Tennyson's "Brook." Contrast them with the bracing lines of the "Northeast Wind," the rough metre of "Highland Cattle," the chill calm of "Snow Bound," the grand style of Milton's "Morning," the noble simplicity of Addison's "Hymn," and note how the great poet bends his language to the mood of Nature, grim or sunny, stormy or kind, strong or tender. There is a stanza in Pope's "Essay on Criticism" which conveys the idea perfectly:

"Soft is the strain when zephyr gently blows,

And the smooth stream in smoother numbers flows;
But when loud surges lash the sounding shore,
The hoarse, rough verse should like the torrent roar.
When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
The line too labors, and the words move slow:
Not so when swift Camilla scours the plain,

Flies o'er th' unbending corn, and skims along the main.”

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SWEET is the breath of Morn, her rising sweet With charm of earliest birds; pleasant the Sun When first on this delightful land he spreads His orient beams, on herb, tree, fruit, and flower, Glistening with dew; fragrant the fertile Earth After soft showers; and sweet the coming on Of grateful Evening mild; then silent Night With this her solemn bird, and this fair Moon, And these the gems of Heaven, her starry train. JOHN MILTON.

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It is the harvest moon! On gilded vanes
And roofs of villages, on woodland crests
And their aerial neighborhoods of nests
Deserted, on the curtained window-panes
Of rooms where children sleep, on country lanes

The World Beautiful

And harvest-fields, its mystic splendor rests!
Gone are the birds that were our summer


With the last sheaves return the laboring wains!

The Cloud

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;

I bear light shade for the leaves when laid

In their noonday dreams.

From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,

When rocked to rest on their mother's breast,
As she dances about the sun.

I wield the flail of the lashing hail,

And whiten the green plains under;
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I sift the snow on the mountains below,
And their great pines groan aghast;
And all the night 'tis my pillow white,

While I sleep in the arms of the blast.
Sublime on the towers of my skyey bowers,
Lightning my pilot sits;

In a cavern under is fettered the thunder,
It struggles and howls at fits;

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