Henry Hamilton

From The Poet's Praise, 1847. (Sharp)

return to sonnet central return to 19th century Americans


Who summons back forgotten banished names?
Whose magic voice bids buried cities rise?
Who opes again the gates of paradise
Where gleaming sword of guardian angel flames?

Who fires the generous heart with godlike aims?
Who leads the way were Fame's high temple lies?
Who fills the soul with hope which never dies?
Who rouses courage while he passion tames?

The poet, he whose words are living things,
Who walks the earth clothed with creative might,
Who touches life's most hidden secret springs
And out of darkness brings the flood of light;
Who speaks, and souls receive the dower of wings
And upward mount to the aerial height.


Shall we believe the heavens less divine
Because earth moves and the great sun is still?
Or is the world less fair because mere thrill
Of ether gives the stars the power to shine?

Shall diamonds with less lustre fair necks twine,
Since we have found how Nature's cunning skill
Black carbon's heart with light has known to fill,
Kindling a lamp in darkness of deep mine?

Not so to poet's eye shall it appear,
Whose wonder grows, with knowledge keeping pace;
Who to all truth lends an impartial ear,
And behind law still sees God's hidden grace
Like a dim milky way when night is clear
And all the stars look on the young moon's face.

(Text from American Sonnets)