The Poet’s Mind

Alfred Tennyson

VEX not thou the poet’s mind
    With thy shallow wit:
Vex not thou the poet’s mind;
    For thou canst not fathom it.
Clear and bright it should be ever,
Flowing like a crystal river;
Bright as light, and clear as wind.

Dark-brow’d sophist, come not anear;
    All the place is holy ground;
    Hollow smile and frozen sneer
            Come not here.
    Holy water will I pour
    Into every spicy flower
Of the laurel-shrubs that hedge it around.
The flowers would faint at your cruel cheer.
    In your eye there is death,
    There is frost in your breath
    Which would blight the plants.
        Where you stand you cannot hear
            From the groves within
            The wild-bird’s din.
In the heart of the garden the merry bird chants.
It would fall to the ground if you came in.
    In the middle leaps a fountain
            Like sheet lightning,
            Ever brightening
    With a low melodious thunder;
All day and all night it is ever drawn
    From the brain of the purple mountain
    Which stands in the distance yonder.
It springs on a level of bowery lawn,
And the mountain draws it from heaven above,
And it sings a song of undying love;
And yet, tho’ its voice be so clear and full,
You never would hear it, your ears are so dull;
So keep where you are; you are foul with sin;
It would shrink to the earth if you came in.

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