Page images

From thy throne in some bright sphere
On this poor brother grovelling here;
For I, too, I can stoutly sing
I am every inch a king!

A king of Thought, a Potentate

Of glorious spiritual state,

A king of Thought, a king of Mind,
Realms unmapp'd and undefined,-
A king! beneath no man's control,
Invested with a royal soul,
Crown'd by God's imperial hand
Before him as a king to stand,
And by His wisdom train'd and taught
To rule my realm as King of Thought.

O thoughts, how ill my fellow-men,

O thoughts, how scanty my poor pen
Can guess or tell the myriad host
Wherewith you crowd my kingdom's coast!
For I am hemm'd and throng'd about
With your triumphant rabble-rout,
Hurried along by that mad flood,
The joy-excited multitud

A conqueror, borne upon the foam,
Of his great people's gladness home,
A monarch in his grandest state,
On whom a thousand thousand wait!
Lo! they come-my Tribes of Thought,
Fierce and flush'd and fever-fraught!
From the horizon all around

I hear with pride their coming sound;
See! their banners circling near,—
Glittering groves of shield and spear,
Flying clouds of troopers gay,
Serried lines in dark array,
Veterans calm with temper'd sword,
And a dishevelled frantic horde,-
On they come with furious force,
Tramping foot and thundering horse,

On they come, converging loud,
With clanging arms, a glorious crowd
Shouting impatient, fierce and free,
For me, their Monarch, yea, for me!

Then, in my majesty and power,
I quell the madness of the hour,
Bid that tumultuous turmoil cease,
And frown my multitudes to peace.
Each to his peril and his post!
All hush'd throughout my mighty host:
Courage clear, and duty stern,—

Heads that freeze and hearts that burn;
Marshalled straight in order due,
Legions! pass in swift review,
Bending to my blazoned will,
Loyal to that standard still,
And hailing me with homage then
King of Thoughts-and thus, of Men!

What? am I powerless to control
Nations, by my single soul?

What? have I not made thousands thrill

By the mere impulse of my will,

When the strong Thought goes forth, and binds
Captive a wandering herd of minds?

And is not this to reign alone
More than the ermine and the throne,
The jewelled state, the gilded rooms,
The mindless man in borrowed plumes?
Yes, if the inmate soul outweighs
Its dull clay house in power and praise:
Yes,-if Eternity be true,

And Time both false and fleeting too,

Then, humbler kings, my boast be this, "My mind to me a kingdom is."

And what, though weak and slow of speech,
Ill to comfort, dull to teach?

What, though hiding from the ken
Of my small prying fellow-men,—
Still within my musing mind,
Wisdom's secret stores I find,
And, little noticed, sweetly feed
On hidden manna, meat indeed,
Blessed thoughts I never told
Unconsidered, uncontroll❜d,
Rushing by as thick and fast
As autumn leaves upon the blast:
Or better, like the gracious rain
Dropping on some thirsty plain.
And is not this to be a king,
To carry in my heart a spring
Of ceaseless pleasures, deep and pure,
Wealth cannot buy, nor power procure?

Yea, by the poet's artless art,

And the sweet searchings of his heart,

By his unknown, unheeded bliss,


My mind to me a kingdom is."

Place me on some desert shore
Foot of man ne'er wandered o'er;
Lock me in a lonely cell
Beneath some prison citadel;
Still, here or there, within I find
My quiet kingdom of the Mind;
Nay,-mid the tempest fierce and dark,
Float me on peril's frailest bark,
My quenchless soul could sit and think
And smile at danger's dizziest brink:
And wherefore?-God, my God, is still
King of kings in good and ill;
And where He dwelleth-every where—
Safety supreme and peace are there;
And where he reigneth—all around—
Wisdom, and love, and power are found;
And reconciled to Him and bliss,
"My mind to me a kingdom is."

Thus for my days; each waking hour
Grand with majesty and power,
Every minute rich in treasure,
Gems of peace, and pearls of pleasure.
And for my nights-those wondrous nights?
How manifold my Mind's delights,
When the young truant, gladly caught
In its own labyrinths of thought,
Finds there is another realm to range,
The dynasties of Chance and Change.
O dreams,-what know I not of dreams?
Their name, their very essence, seems
A tender light, not dark nor clear,
A sad sweet mystery wild and dear,
A dull soft feeling unexplained,

A lie half true, a truth half feigned:
O dreams,-what know I not of dreams?
When Reason, with inebriate gleams,
Looses from his wise control
The prancing Fancies of the soul,
And sober Judgment, slumbering still,
Sets free Caprice to guide the Will.
Within one night have I not spent
Years of adventurous banishment,
Strangely groping like the blind
In the dark caverns of my mind?
Have I not dwelt, from eve till morn,
Lifetimes in length for praise or scorn,
With fancied joys, ideal woes,
And all sensation's warmest glows,
Wondrously thus expanding Life
Through seeming scenes of peace or strife,

Until I verily reign sublime,

A great creative king of Time?

And there are people, things, and places,
Usual themes, familiar faces,

A second life, that looks as real
As this dull world's own unideal,

Another life of dreams by night,
That, still forgotten wanes in light,
Yet seems itself to wake and sleep,
And in that sleep dreams doubly deep,
While those same dreams may dream anon,

Tangled mazes wandering on!

Yes, I have often, weak and worn,

Feebly waked at earliest morn,

As a shipwreck'd sailor, tost
By the wild waves on some rough coast,
Of perils past remembering nought
But some dim cataracts of thought,
And only roused betimes to know
That yesterday seems years ago!
And I can apprehend full well
What old Pythagoras could tell
Of other scenes, and other climes,
And other Selfs in other times;
For, oft my consciousness has reel'd
With scores of "Richards in the field,"
As, multiform, with no surprise,

I see myself in other guise,

And wonderless walk side by side
With mine own soul, self-multiplied!

If it be royal then to reign
Over an infinite domain,

If it be more than monarch can

To lengthen out the life of man,
Yea, if a godlike thing it be
To revel in ubiquity,

Is there but empty boast in this,


My mind to me a kingdom is ?”
-Peace, rash fool; be proud no more,
Count thy faults and follies o'er,
Turn aside, and note within
Thy secret charnel-house of Sin,
Thy bitter heart, thy covetous mind.
Evil thoughts, and words unkind:

« PreviousContinue »