Sometimes, when winding slow by brook and bower,
Beating the idle grass, — of what avail,
I ask, are these dim fancies, cares and fears?
What though from every bank I drew a flower, —
Bloodroot, king orchis, or the pearlwort pale, —
And set it in my verse with thoughtful tears?
What would it count though I should sing my death
And muse and mourn with as poetic breath
As in damp garden walks the autumn gale
Sighs o’er the fallen floriage? What avail
Is the swan’s voice if all the hearers fail?
Or his great flight that no eye gathereth
In the blending blue? And yet depending so,
God were not God, whom knowledge cannot know.
(Frederick Goddard Tuckerman)