January 30, 2012

Pike: the soul of the Universe

Albert Pike wrote two poems he titled "Love," one which he never republished and another which was reprinted posthumously by his family. The latter was first published in the Boston Pearl on January 30, 1836. In it, "Love" tells its own story of how great a role it plays:

I am the soul of the Universe,
        In Nature's pulse I beat;
To Doom and Death I am a curse,
        I trample them under my feet.

Creation's every voice is mine,
        I breathe in its every tone;
I have in every heart a shrine,
        A consecrated throne.

The whisper that sings in the summer leaves,
        The hymn of the star-lit brook,
The martin that nests in the ivied eaves,
        The dove in his shaded nook,

The quivering heart of the blushing flower,
        The thick Aeolian grass,
The harmonies of the summer shower,
        The south wind's soft, sweet mass,

The psalm of the great grave sea,—are mine;
        The cataract's thunder tongue,
The monody of the mountain pine,
        Moaning the cliffs among.

I kiss the snowy breasts of the maiden,
        And they thrill with a new delight;
While the crimson pulses flush and redden,
        Along the forehead's white.

I fill the restless heart of the boy,
        As a sphere is filled with fire,
Till it quivers and trembles with hope and joy,
        Like the strings of a golden lyre.

I touch the poet's soul with my wing,
        It yields to my magic power,
And the songs of his mighty passions ring,
        Till the world is full of the shower.

The heart of the soldier bows to me,
        His arms aside are flung,
Unheeded the wild sublimity
        Of the silver trumpet's tongue.

I brood on the soul like a golden thrush,
        My music to it clings,
And its purple fountains throb and flush,
        In the crimson light of my wings.

Deep in a lovely woman's soul
        I love to build my throne,
For the harmonies that through it roll
        Are the echoes of one tone.

The sounds of its many perfect strings
        Have but one key-note ever,
Its passions are the thousand springs,
        All flowing to one river.

Interestingly, Pike (pictured above in Masonic regalia) was born in Massachusetts and it was in Boston that he published his first works. Nevertheless, he is more associated with Arkansas, where he lived for many years and was a member of the Confederacy.

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