PRESENTIMENTS! they judge not right Who deem that ye from open light Retire in fear of shame; All ‘heaven-born’ Instincts shun the touch Of vulgar sense,–and, being such, Such privilege ye claim. The tear whose source I could not guess, The deep sigh that seemed fatherless, Were mine in early days; And now, unforced by time to part 10 With fancy, I obey my heart, And venture on your praise. What though some busy foes to good, Too potent over nerve and blood, Lurk near you–and combine To taint the health which ye infuse; This hides not from the moral Muse Your origin divine. How oft from you, derided Powers! Comes Faith that in auspicious hours 20 Builds castles, not of air: Bodings unsanctioned by the will Flow from your visionary skill, And teach us to beware. The bosom-weight, your stubborn gift, That no philosophy can lift, Shall vanish, if ye please, Like morning mist: and, where it lay, The spirits at your bidding play In gaiety and ease. 30 Star-guided contemplations move Through space, though calm, not raised above Prognostics that ye rule; The naked Indian of the wild, And haply, too, the cradled Child, Are pupils of your school. But who can fathom your intents, Number their signs or instruments? A rainbow, a sunbeam, A subtle smell that Spring unbinds, 40 Dead pause abrupt of midnight winds, An echo, or a dream. The laughter of the Christmas hearth With sighs of self-exhausted mirth Ye feelingly reprove; And daily, in the conscious breast, Your visitations are a test And exercise of love. When some great change gives boundless scope To an exulting Nation’s hope, 50 Oft, startled and made wise By your low-breathed interpretings, The simply-meek foretaste the springs Of bitter contraries. Ye daunt the proud array of war, Pervade the lonely ocean far As sail hath been unfurled; For dancers in the festive hall What ghastly partners hath your call Fetched from the shadowy world. 60 ‘Tis said, that warnings ye dispense, Emboldened by a keener sense; That men have lived for whom, With dread precision, ye made clear The hour that in a distant year Should knell them to the tomb. Unwelcome insight! Yet there are, Blest times when mystery is laid bare, Truth shows a glorious face, While on that isthmus which commands 70 The councils of both worlds, she stands, Sage Spirits! by your grace. God, who instructs the brutes to scent All changes of the element, Whose wisdom fixed the scale Of natures, for our wants provides By higher, sometimes humbler, guides, When lights of reason fail. 1830.