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And my wistful spirit listens
For a voice that glows and grieves,
Breathing, when my heart would fail,
Youth from yonder fairy vale,
Where sings a nightingale.
OVE was playing hide and seek, And we deemed that he was gone, Tears were on my withered cheek
For the setting of our sun; Dark it was around, above,
But he came again, my love!
Chill and drear in wan November,
We recall the happy spring,
While bewildered we remember
When the woods began to sing,
All alive with leaf and wing,
Leafless lay the silent grove;
But He came again, my love!
And our melancholy frost
Woke to radiance in His rays, Who wore the look of one we lost In the far away dim days;
No prayer, we sighed, the dead may move, Yet he came again, my love!
Love went to sleep, but not for ever,
And we deemed that he was dead;
Nay, shall aught avail to sever
Hearts who once indeed were wed?
Garlands for his grave we wove,
But he came again, my love!
(FROM "A LAY OF CIVILISATION.")
FROM where our patriot sailor on his column
Stands, with the lion of England at his feet,
Among the fountains, looking toward the towers,
The banded towers of Westminster, beyond
Green trees, by Thames, to Lambeth, London roars
Eastward, loud leagues of palaces for men
Who toil to accumulate, around the dome,
Where warrior Wellington by Nelson sleeps,
Flows to four towers, phantoms of the past,
In whose dread dungeons linger shadowy sighs
From ruined lives of all the slow sad years;
On, where the navies largesse of world-wealth
Lavish on quays vociferous (yet we
Pine ever ailing, surfeited, unfed),
By that great arsenal of war-weapons,
Forged with tremendous clangour, to God's sea.
And westward, London roars round congregated
Palaces, where men squander. Of the crowds
Our eyes encounter, some are sorrowful,
Long uncompanioned of sweet Hope, the bride,
Withering mournful; some are jubilant,
Sunny and strong with youth, or strenuous,
Of glad demeanour; listless, languid these;
But most are weary in this Babylon,
Whether men idle, or contend for bubbles;
The happiest are they who minister.
Beyond these regions, reaches of dim street,
A sullen labyrinth of ill-omened hovels :
Ah! dull, grey, grovelling populations, ye
That are rank human soil, wherein we force
Our poor pale virtues, and our venomous sins
Of gorgeous growth, our proxy-piety,
Official food, that yields no sustenance,
But chokes with outworn fantasy free life,
What hope, O people? Red convulsive strife
With those whom circumstance made masters, then
Brief moaning silence under other lords ?
And yet what ask ye? Sick men from a feast
Rise loathing; health can relish his poor crust.
The pure soul hath her panoply of light,
In direst dungeon radiating heaven;
Ensphered in her own atmosphere of joy
Sees no deformity; while tyrants tread
Their marble halls, to find them torture-chambers;
A graceless prison all his fair demesne
To some illiberal, illustrious fool.
Perchance ye, ground to powder in God's mill,
May serve more than who sleep in delicate death, With rarest incense in the mummy-fold.
O whirling wheels! O throngs of murmuring men!
Where is the goal of infinite endeavour ?
And where your haven, O ye fleeting faces?
High Westminster, like some tall ghostly father
Of olden time, stands wildered, while for crowds
Of modern men, swift eddying at his feet,
His reverend grandeur void of consolation
Broods; for no warriors, consecrated kings,
Kings who were crowned here through the centuries,
Nor bard, nor saint, emblazoned on the pane,
Canopied under marble in the aisle,
Whose shadowy memories haunt his heart, may help.
These are unsceptred; time trends otherwhere;
Their slumber is by channels long deserted!
His hoary towers, with melancholy eyes,
Dream in their own world, impotent for ours;
Or if he speak, who may interpret now?
He wakes in vain, who slept for centuries,
For he awakens in some alien world.
Doth Hope inhabit, then, the sister-pile,
Whose stately height hath grown to overshadow
That hoary minster? This in sooth avails.
And yet methinks more health is in the old,
Renewing youth from fountains of the new,
Than in rash overthrow of all men built,
With salt of insolence sown in holy places.
Therefore, O secular, and sacred towers,
Confound your glories by the river-shore,
And marry mighty tones in ordering time!
Cathedral organ, roll insurgent sound,
As though the archangel would arouse the dead!
Our firm foundations on the invisible,
Build we the ever ampler, loftier state,
Till unaware we walk the City of God!
Yea, for I deem the fathers we revere,
Shrined in cathedral glooms, embolden us
With eyes of silent counsel, and dumb power,
Approving backs turned on their empty tomb.
But who may slay the irrevocable Past?
The Past, our venerable Sire, that girds
Bright armour round us, like some grand old knight,
With benediction sending forth fair youth
To battle, crowning what himself began!
When England bathes in shadow, the tall tower
Of that great palace of the people shines,
Shines to the midnight like a midnight sun.
While crowned inherited incompetence,
And while law-making men laborious
Through long night-watches, in their golden chamber,
Wage wordy wars of faction, help the State,
The dreadful river rolls in darkness under,
Whirling our human lights to wild witch-gleam!
See yellow lamps in formidable gloom
Of both the shores, night-hearted haunts of men; }
Terrible water heaped about great piers
Of arches, gliding, gurgling, ominous!
But on the vasty parapet above
Those Titan tunnels, ghastlier for the glare
Of our electric mockery of moons,
Appears a moment a fate-hunted face-
Wan Desolation, plunging to the Void.
Then swirls a form dishonoured among gleams,
Which eddy as light-headed; what was man,
With other offal flotsam, flounders, rolls.
But now for one who mused upon the bridge,
Of pier and arch tremendous, the huge reek,
And sin-breathed exhalations of the city,
Transfigured by an alchemy of power,
Burned with all colour; the broad river rose
Aslant horizonward, and heavenward,
One calm aerial glory of still dream;
Thronged habitations on the shadowy shore
Blend solemn, disembodied to a bloom