Two Boyhoods
      Luminous passions reign
High in the soul of man; and they are twain.
Of these he hath made the poetry of earth—
Hath made his nobler tears, his magic mirth.
      Fair Love is one of these,
The visiting vision of seven centuries;
And one is love of Nature—love to tears—
The modern passion of this hundred years.
    O never to such height,
O never to such spiritual light—
The light of lonely visions, and the gleam
Of secret splendid sombre suns in dream—
      O never to such long
Glory in life, supremacy in song,
Had either of these loves attained in joy,
But for the ministration of a boy.
      Dante was one who bare
Love in his deep heart, apprehended there
When he was yet a child; and from that day
The radiant love has never passed away.
      And one was Wordsworth; he
Conceived the love of Nature childishly
As no adult heart might; old poets sing
That exaltation by remembering.
      For no divine
Intelligence, or art, or fire, or wine,
Is high-delirious as that rising lark—
The child’s soul and its daybreak in the dark.
      And Letters keep these two
Heavenly treasures safe the ages through,
Safe from ignoble benison or ban—
These two high childhoods in the heart of man.

Webpage © 2001 ELC
Lane Core Jr. (
Created April 9, 2001; not revised.