Talent and Genius


ON the high-road traveling steady,
Sure, alert, and ever ready;
Prompt to seize all fit occasion,
Courting power and wealth and station;
One clear aim before him keeping,
One smooth field forever reaping;
Prizing most the ephemeral flower
Blooming for a brilliant hour;
With self-conscious action moving,
Well-known truths intent on proving;
Radiant in his day and season
With the world’s reflected reason ;
Noting times, effects, and causes,
Phaon wins the crowd’s applauses.


Winged like an eagle o’er mountains and meadows,
Lit by their splendors, or hid by their shadows;
Borne by a power supernal, resistless,
Dreaming through trances abstracted and listless ;
Swooping capricious to faults and to errors,
Redeemed by a virtue unconscious of terrors;
Linking with ease his result and endeavor,
Opening through chaos fresh pathways forever;
Gilding the world with his thoughts and his fancies,
Scornful of fashions and heedless of chances ;
Yet in obscurity living and dying,
Hylas — a voice in the wilderness crying —
Only is heard when no hand can restore him ;
Only is known when the grave closes o’er him.
Christopher P. Cranch.