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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891.
Vols. IX–XI: Literature of the Republic, Part IV., 1861–1889


By Christopher Pearse Cranch (1813–1892)

[Born in Alexandria, Va., 1813. Died at Cambridge, Mass., 1892. From Poems. 1844.]

THOUGHT is deeper than all speech,

Feeling deeper than all thought;

Souls to souls can never teach

What unto themselves was taught.

We are spirits clad in veils:

Man by man was never seen;

All our deep communion fails

To remove the shadowy screen.

Heart to heart was never known;

Mind with mind did never meet;

We are columns left alone,

Of a temple once complete.

Like the stars that gem the sky,

Far apart, though seeming near,

In our light we scattered lie;

All is thus but starlight here.

What is social company

But a babbling summer stream?

What our wise philosophy

But the glancing of a dream?

Only when the sun of love

Melts the scattered stars of thought;

Only when we live above

What the dim-eyed world hath taught;

Only when our souls are fed

By the Fount which gave them birth,

And by inspiration led,

Which they never drew from earth,

We, like parted drops of rain

Swelling till they meet and run,

Shall be all absorbed again,

Melting, flowing into one.