My Cocoon tightens - Colors tease -
I'm feeling for the Air -
A dim capacity for Wings
Demeans the Dress I wear -

A power of Butterfly must be -
The Aptitude to fly
Meadows of Majesty implies
And easy Sweeps of Sky -

So I must baffle at the Hint
And cipher at the Sign
And make much blunder, if at last
I take the clue divine -

c. 1866                    1890


The metamorphosis of the butterfly is treated here as the metamorphosis of the poet. Poetic inspiration--to "take the clue divine"--is conceived as an alternative form of resurrection.