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Thomas Cole's poetry

the collected poems of America's foremost painter of the Hudson River School reflecting his feelings for nature and the romantic spirit of the Nineteenth Century

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A Painter

I know 'tis vain ye mountains, and ye woods
To strive to match your wild, and wonderous hues,
Ye rocks and lakes, and ever rolling floods,
The gold-cinctur'd eve, or morn begemm'd with dews—
Yes, day by day and year by year I've toil'd
In the lone chamber, and the sunny field
To grasp your beauty; but I have been foil'd—
I cannot conquer; but I will not yield—
How oft have I, where spread the pictur'd scene
Wrought on the canvas with fond, anxious care,
Deemed I had equalled nature's forests green,
Her lakes, her rocks, and e'en the ambient air.
Vain unpious thought! such feverish fancies sweep
Swift from the brain—when nature's landscapes break
Upon the thrilling sense—O I could weep
Not that she is so beautiful; but I so weak—
O! for a power to snatch the living light
From heaven, and darkness from some deep abyss,
Made palpable: with skill to mingle right
Their mystery of beauty! then mine would be bliss!