The Lost Genius

A GIANT came to me, when I was young,
My instant will to ask, —
My earthly Servant, from the earth he sprung
Eager for any task!
“What wilt thou, O my Master?” he began;
“ Whatever can be,” I.
“Say but thy wish,—whate’er thou wilt I can,”
The strong Slave made reply.
“ Enter the earth and bring its riches forth,
For pearls explore the sea. ’
He brought from East and West, and South and North,
All treasures back to me !
“ Build me a palace wherein I may dwell.”
“ Awake, and see it done,”
Spake his great voice at dawn. O miracle,
That glittered in the sun!
“ Find me the princess fit for my embrace,
The vision of my breast, —
For her search every clime and every race.”
My yearning arms were blessed !
“ Get me all knowledge.” Sages with their lore,
And poets with their songs,
Crowded my palace halls at every door,
In mute obedient throngs!
“ Now bring me wisdom.” Long ago he went;
(The cold task harder seems ;)
He did not hasten with the last content, —
The rest, meanwhile, were dreams !
Houseless and poor, on many a trackless road,
Without a guide, I found
A white-haired phantom with the world his load
Bending him to the ground !
“ I bring thee wisdom, Master.” Is it he,
I marvelled then, in sooth ?
“ Thy palace-builder, beauty-seeker see ! ”
I saw the Ghost of Youth !