English poetry

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The Altar

Alone, remote, nor witting where I went,
I found an altar builded in a dream –
A fiery place, whereof there was a gleam
So swift, so searching, and so eloquent
Of upward promise, that love’s murmur, blent
With sorrow’s warning, gave but a supreme
Unending impulse to that human stream
Whose flood was all for the flame’s fury bent.

Alas! I said,-the world is in the wrong.
But the same quenchless fever of unrest
That thrilled the foremost of that martyred throng
Thrilled me, and I awoke… and was the same
Bewildered insect plunging for the flame
That burns, and must burn somehow for the best.


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Poem The Altar - Edwin Arlington Robinson