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Do bird and blossom feel, like me,
Life's many-folded mystery,—
The wonder which it is to be?
Or stand I severed and distinct,
From Nature's chain of life unlinked?
Allied to all, yet not the less
Prisoned in separate consciousness,
Alone o'erburdened with a sense
Of life, and cause, and consequence?
In vain to me the Sphinx propounds
The riddle of her sights and sounds;
Back still the vaulted mystery gives
The echoed question it receives.
What sings the brook? What oracle
Is in the pine-tree's organ swell?
What may the wind's low burden be?
The meaning of the moaning sea?
The hieroglyphics of the stars?
Or clouded sunset's crimson bars?
I vainly ask, for mocks my skill
The trick of Nature's cipher still.
I turn from Nature unto men,
I ask the stylus and the pen;
What sang the bards of old? What meant
The prophets of the Orient?
The rolls of buried Egypt, hid
In painted tomb and pyramid?
What mean Idumea's arrowy lines,
Or dusk Elora's monstrous signs?
How speaks the primal thought of man
From the grim carvings of Copan?
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