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The poet describes the motion of the fountain during sunlight and moonshine that inspires him to achieve his highest goals in life. He wishes to be happy and cheerful in all situations of life just like the fountain. According to the poet, if a man will be a value-seeker, he must be one by choice. To be a value-seeker, a man must think for himself. Thinking about one’s own values is selfish, but it is good nevertheless.
About the poet
James Russell Lowell was an American Romantic poet, critic, editor, and diplomat. He is associated with the Fireside Poets, a group of New England writers who were among the first American poets that rivalled the popularity of British poets. Lowell graduated from Harvard College in 1838, despite his reputation as a troublemaker, and went on to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. He published his first collection of poetry in 1841 and married Maria White in 1844.
In this poem, the theme of the poem is nature, and this poem is full of images we see when he described the fountain. James Russell Rowell in the poem describes the fountain, and what makes the waterfall, what it looks like.
Into the sunshine, Full of the light, Leaping and flashing From morn till night!
In the first stanza, the poet describes what the fountain looks like or the motion in the sunlight. He says that in sunlight, the fountain of the water keeps jumping up out of the spring from morning to the end of the day. It seems to shine even brighter in the light.
Into the moonlight, Whiter than snow, Waving so flower-like When the winds blow!
In the second stanza, the poet describes what the fountain looks like in the moonlight or at night. He compares the water with the snow and flowers, he says that the water looks whiter than the snow at night. He even says that the water which comes out from the spring or fountain looks like a white flower.
Into the starlight, Rushing in spray, Happy at midnight, Happy by day!
In the third stanza, the poet describes what the fountain looks like in the starlight. He says that the fountain of the water looks as if it is sprayed. No matter day or night the fountain stays forever. The poet too wanted to be happy like the fountain.
Ever in motion, Blithesome and cheery, Still climbing heavenward, Never a weary;
The poet says that the fountain stays in motion all the time, it never stops or never gets tired. Just because the water keeps flowing upwards, the poet says that the water climbs the steps to heaven. It says that the fountain is found to be very energetic to flow all the time and it has got the power to be happy.
Glad of all weathers, Still seeming best, Upward or downward, Motion thy rest;
No matter what the weather is the fountain stays happy forever. No matter what the direction is whether upwards or downward, it finds rest and happiness in that.
Full of a nature Nothing can tame, Changed every moment, Ever the same;
The fountain is a part of nature, no one can take it in their own control or no one can stop it from flowing. It keeps flowing upward, the water flows in a perfect ratio that it always looks similar.
Ceaseless aspiring, Ceaseless content, Darkness or sunshine Thy element;
The fountain keeps flowing water upward continuously. It seems as if he is very happy and satisfied by the heights to which the water reaches. Whether it is day or night the fountain seems to be happy always. It teaches us what the atmosphere of nature is we should always stay happy and satisfied.
A Glorious fountain! Let my heart be Fresh, changeful, constant, Upward, like thee!
The speaker is very excited. He has got strong feelings on the subject that are described in the poem. The fountain inspires him to achieve his highest goals in life. He wishes to be happy and cheerful in all situations of life just like the fountain.