Eliza Lee Follen


What was it in the viewless wind,
Wild rushing through the oak,
Seemed to my listening, dreaming mind
As though a spirit spoke?
What is it to the murmuring stream
Doth give so sweet a song,
That on its tide my thoughts do seem
To pour themselves along?
What is it on the dizzy height,
What in each glowing star,
That speaks of things beyond the sight,
And questions what they are?
What in the rolling thunder's voice,
What in the ocean's roar,
Hears the grand chorus, "O rejoice!"
Echo from shore to shore?
What in the gentle moon doth see
Pure thoughts and tender love,
And hears delicious melody
Around, below, above?
What bids the savage tempest speak
Of terror and dismay,
And wakes the agonizing shriek
Of guilt that fears to pray?
It is this ever-living mind:
This little throb of life
Hears its own echoes in the wind
And in the tempest's strife:
To all that's sweet, and bright, and fair,
Its own affections gives;
Sees its own image every where;
Through all creation lives.
It bids the everlasting hills
Give back the solemn tone;
This boundless arch of azure fills
With accents all its own.
What is this life-inspiring mind,
This omnipresent thought?
How shall it ever utterance find
For all itself hath taught?
To Him who breathed the heavenly flame,
Its mysteries are known;
It seeks the source from whence it came,
And rests in God alone.

COMMENT: Follen gathers a nearly pantheistic worship of nature
into a Romantic synthesis, the "ever-living mind," "omnipresent
thought"; then in the last stanza gives care of this ungendered
and unpersonified oversoul over to a Christian-like God.