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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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On a Sunset Sky

I saw a glory in the sunset deep;
A glory such as from the highest Heaven
Must have descended. Earth does never keep
In its embrace such beauty; Clouds were driven
As by the breath of God into free forms
Unearthly and did burn with living flames
And hues so wonderful, so bright and rare
That mortal language cannot give them names:
And light and shadow strangely linked their arms
In lovliness and all continual were
Changing and with each change there came new charms.
Nor orient pearls; nor flowers fresh with dew
Nor golden tinctures; nor insect's wing
Nor dies purpureal for imperial view;
Nor all that Art or fecund Earth can bring
Can aught compare with what the heavens unfurled.
These are the wings of Angels I exclaimed!
Stretched in their mystic beauty o'er the world!
Let us give thanks to God that in his love
He gives such glimpses of the world above,
That we poor pilgrims on this darkling sphere
Beyond its shadows can our hopes uprear.
October 4, 1843