Home  »  The Poets of Transcendentalism  »  Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)

George Willis Cooke, comp. The Poets of Transcendentalism: An Anthology. 1903.

Life a Temple

Margaret Fuller (1810–1850)


Spread green the pleasant ground;

The fair colonnade

Be of pure marble pillars made;

Strong to sustain the roof,

Time and tempest proof;

Yet, amidst which, the lightest breeze

Can play as it please;

The audience hall

Be free to all

Who revere

The power worshipped here,

Sole guide of youth,

Unswerving Truth.

In the inmost shrine

Stands the image divine,

Only seen

By those whose deeds have worthy been—

Priestlike clean.

Those, who initiated are,


As the hours

Usher in varying hopes and powers;

It changes its face,

It changes its age,

Now a young, beaming Grace,

Now a Nestorian Sage:

But, to the pure in heart,

This shape of primal art

In age is fair,

In youth seems wise,

Beyond compare,

Above surprise;

What it teaches native seems,

Its new lore our ancient dreams;

Incense rises from the ground;

Music flows around;

Firm rest the feet below, clear gaze the eyes above,

When Truth, to point the way through Life, assumes the wand of Love;

But, if she cast aside the robe of green,

Winter’s silver sheen,

White, pure as light,

Makes gentle shroud as worthy weed as bridal robe has been.