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From part oft sundered, yet ever a globéd light,
I must pass from the face, I must pass from the face of the
Old Want is awake and agog, every wrinkle a-frown;
I am strong with the strength of my lord the Sun:
I am lit with the Sun.
Oh, never the mast-high run of the seas
Of traffic shall hide thee,
Never the hell-colored smoke of the factories
Never the reek of the time's fen-politics
And ever my heart through the night shall with knowledge abide thee,
And ever by day shall my spirit, as one that hath tried thee, Labor, at leisure, in art,—till yonder beside thee
My soul shall float, friend Sun,
The day being done.
BALTIMORE, December, 1880.
SAIL on, sail on, fair cousin Cloud :
Still-eyed and shadow-brow'd,
Steal off from yon far-drifting crowd,
And come and brood upon the marsh with me.
Yon laboring low horizon-smoke,
Yon stringent sail, toil not for thee
Nor me; did heaven's stroke
The whole deep with drown'd commerce choke, No pitiless tease of risk or bottomry
Would to thy rainy office close
Thy will, or lock mine eyes from tears,
Part for that ventures mean as those
In issue bind such sovereign hopes and fears.
-Lo, Cloud, thy downward countenance stares Blank on the blank-faced marsh, and thou
Mindest of dark affairs;
Thy substance seems a warp of cares ;
Like late wounds run the wrinkles on thy brow.
Well may'st thou pause, and gloom, and stare, A visible conscience: I arraign
Thee, criminal Cloud, of rare Contempts on Mercy, Right, and Prayer,Of murders, arsons, thefts,-of nameless stain.
(Yet though life's logic grow as gray
As thou, my soul's not in eclipse.)
Thy lightning slew a child at play,
For his enemies, and then a bright
Lady that did but ope the door
Upon the storming night
Till thy quick torch a barn had burned
Which done, thy floods with winds returned,--The river raped their little herd away.
What myriad righteous errands high
Not rather slay Calamity,
Breeder of Pain and Doubt, infernal Power?
Or why not plunge thy blades about
Swarming to parcel out
The body of a land, and rout
The maw-conventicle, and ungorge Wrong?
What the cloud doeth
Well-answered !—O dear artists, ye
Awful is Art because 'tis free.
Where men his Self must see,
My Lord is large, my Lord is strong:
How poor, how strange, how wrong,
Oh, not as clouds dim laws have plann'd
Oh, not as harps that stand
In the wind and sound the wind's command:
For thee, Cloud,—if thou spend thine all
Till every convert clod shall give to thee
Green worship; if thou grow or fade,
Fly east or west, be made
Snow, hail, rain, wind, grass, rose, light, shade; What matters it to thee? There is no thee.
Pass, kinsman Cloud, now fair and mild :
But work, as plays a little child,
Sure of the Father, Self, and Love, alone.
MARSH SONG-AT SUNSET.
OVER the monstrous shambling sea,
Bright Ariel-cloud, thou lingerest:
Oh wait, oh wait, in the warm red West,-
Over the humped and fishy sea,
Over the Caliban sea
O cloud in the West, like a thought in the heart
Over the huge and huddling sea,
Bring hither my brother Antonio,—Man,—