I KNOW the splendor of the Sun,
And beauty in the leaves, and moss, and grass;
I love the birds' small voices every one,
And all the hours have kindness as they pass;
But still the heart can apprehend
A deeper purport than the brain may know:
I see it at the dying daylight's end,
And hear it when the winds begin to blow.
It strives to speak from all the world,
Out of dumb earth, and moaning ocean-tides;
And brooding Night, beneath her pinions furled,
Some message writ in starry cipher hides.
Must I go seeking everywhere
The meanings that behind our objects be --
A depth serener in the azure air,
A something more than peace upon the sea?
Not one least deed one soul to bless?
Unto the stern-eyed Future shall I bear
Only the sense of pain without redress,
Self-sickness, and a dull and stale despair?
Nay, let me shape, in patience slow,
My years, like the Holy Child his bird of clay,
Till suddenly the clod its Master know,
And thrill with life, and soar with songs away.
Poem published in 1868 as part of "The Hermitage and Other Poems" by the house of Leypoldt and Holt.
Edward Rowland Sill (1841– 1887) was an American poet, essayist and educator born in Windsor, Connecticut. He graduated from Yale in 1861 and entered the Harvard Divinity School but left it to work for the New York Evening Mail. After teaching for three years in Ohio he moved to California where he became principal of Oakland High School. In 1874 he was appointed Professor Of English language at California University. Much of his work was published posthumously.