Bayard Taylor

The source of each accordant strainLies deeper than the Poet’s brain.First from the people’s heart must springThe passions which he learns to sing;They are the wind, the harp is he,To voice their fitful melody,–The language of their varying fate,Their pride, grief, love, ambition, hate,–The talisman which holds inwroughtThe touchstone of the listener’s thought;That penetrates each vain disguise,And brings his secret to his eyes.

Oh! what waves of crime and bloodshed have swept like the waves of a deluge down the valley of the Rhine! War has laid his mailed hand on those desolate towers and ruthlessly torn down what time has spared, yet he could not mar the beauty of the shore, nor could Time himself hurl down the mountains that guard it.

I envy those old Greek bathers, into whose hands were delivered Pericles, and Alcibiades, and the perfect models of Phidias. They had daily before their eyes the highest types of Beauty which the world has ever produced; for of all things that are beautiful, the human body is the crown.