University of Virginia Library

Search this document 
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

collapse section 
4. To the Moon
expand section46. 
expand section47. 
collapse section71. 


To the Moon

Hail thou fair orb! Thou ever beauteous light
Thou di'mond in the subtle robe of night
Plac'd by thy maker in the wilds of space,
And bade pursue unceasingly thy race.
In heav'n's blue canopy thy torch was hung
(When the bright angels first creation sung.)
To cheer this earth when in the Ocean's breast
The wearied sun hath plunged his golden crest—
Emblem of mercy: whose descending beams
Impartial spread wide o'er the trackless wild
The fertile valley, and the sparkling deep
The palace, cot, the wood entangled steep.
O what a subject, what a swelling theme
For mind's wide scope, or fancy's airy dream,
To trace enamoured on thy bosom bright,
The rising mountains, or the ocean's light—
Thou hast thy hills rejoicing in the day
Thy rivers roll their ever changeful way.
High to the sun thy threat'ning rocks arise:
And vallies dim my eager fancy spies:
Thy woods are dark—and shall I venture more,
And dare thy hidden secrets to explore;
Are there not beings form'd to grace the rest
Happy, and beautiful, divinely bless'd
Pure as their skies more virtuous than we;
Who never fell from heaven's high destiny—
On the Atlantic's undulating breast,
Thy pictur'd image by the flood is press'd;
Methinks thy searching beams can sweep
Into the very caverns of the deep—
Through liquid mazes troublous, and dread,


Lighting the gloom of Ocean's rocky bed.
Perhaps in some coral grove, or weedy vale
To her he loves the Merman breathes his tale;
In liquid language he recites it o'er,
With voice like waves upon the pebbly shore
Swears that his love is boundless as the sea,
Pure as that orb, and turning points to thee—
O let me wander in my silent beam,
When all is calm, and still, and e'en the stream
Rolls on in silence: when the breezes sleep
Or sigh in softness o'er the smiling deep—
And ye deep woods rise to this silver light,
Heave your broad bosoms toss your branches bright.
And ye blue mountains climbing to the sky
Thou ocean wide: ye beaming clouds on high;
The Moon's fair light in bright reflections raise
And greet the heav'ns with your grateful praise,
Thou light of heaven; who of thee can sing,
Render thy praise, or worthy off'rings bring:
Feeble my efforts but do thou receive,
This humble tribute glorious Queen of eve—
T Cole 1825