Aspiration.

A poem by Emma Lazarus

Dark lies the earth, and bright with worlds the sky:
That soft, large, lustrous star, that first outshone,
Still holds us spelled with potent sorcery.


Dilating, shrinking, lightening, it hath won
Our spirit with its strange strong influence,
And sways it as the tides beneath the moon.


What impulse this, o'ermastering heart and sense?
Exalted, thrilled, the freed soul fain would soar
Unto that point of shining prominence,


Craving new fields and some unheard-of shore,
Yea, all the heavens, for her activity,
To mount with daring flight, to hover o'er


Low hills of earth, flat meadows, level sea,
And earthly joy and trouble. In this hour
Of waning light and sound, of mystery,


Of shadowed love and beauty-veiled power,
She feels her wings: she yearns to grasp her own,
Knowing the utmost good to be her dower.


A dream! a dream! for at a touch 't is gone.
O mocking spirit! thy mere fools are we,
Unto the depths from heights celestial thrown.


From these blind gropings toward reality,
This thirst for truth, this most pathetic need
Of something to uplift, to justify,


To help and comfort while we faint and bleed,
May we not draw, wrung from the last despair,
Some argument of hope, some blessed creed,


That we can trust the faith which whispers prayer,
The vanishings, the ecstasy, the gleam,
The nameless aspiration, and the dream?

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