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Ethereal, bathed in evening; fair enchased,
Or diapered upon the delicate air,
Hull, mast, sail, tiny bark, or barge, or steamer,
Poised darkly in mid primrose of the tide,
Like carven fretwork on a golden shrine.
All monstrous hostels, with interminable
Glazed bulks that over-roof the clanging train,
And all our builded chaos doth repent,
Converting into beauty; while I muse,
The mild, and modulated cadences
Of lemon fruit, shy violet, dove-down,
Deepen to very pomp and festival
Of dyes magnificent; one diapason
Of hues resplendent, crimson, gold, and green,
And purple gorgeous, like robes of kings,
Or caves of sun-illumined sea-treasure,
Or glories blazoned in Cathedral aisle,
Heart of white lily, fruit of passion-flower,
Or fervid eagle-eyes; a parable,
One nuptial-feast of marrying glow and gloom,
A wondrous parable of life through death!
While yonder haughty heights of Westminster,
Where once fierce feuds of our illustrious dead
Sleep reconciled in monumental calm,
Mary reposing by Elizabeth,
And where with throes of living loud debate
Are brought to birth the still behests of Heaven;
With ancient consecrated privilege
Of lordly Lambeth on his stately sward;
These, and the grand dome, and the four grim towers,
Haunted by phantoms of long-wandering crime,
And harbours thronged with navies of the world,
Glow fair a moment with supernal fire.
HE mage of music, deaf to outward sound,
Rehearsing mighty harmonies within,
Waved his light wand; the full aerial tides
Ebbed billowing to rear of him, o'erwhelmed
All listening auditors, engulphed, and swept
Upon the indomitable, imperial surge
To alien realms, and halls of ancient awe,
Which are the presence-chambers of dim Death:
The grand departed haunt this mountain-sound!
Cliffs, and ravines, and torrent-shadowing pines,
A pomp of winds, and waters, and wild cloud
The enchanter raises: then the solemn scene
Evanishing, lo! delicate soft calm
Of vernal airs, young leaflets, and blithe birds,
The cuckoo and the nightingale, with bloom
Of myriad flowers, and rills, and water-falls,
Or sunlit rains that twinkle through the leaves,
And odorous ruffled whirlpools of the rose.
Anon, some wondrous petal of a flower,
An ample velvet petal, slides along
A luminous air of summer, visibly
Mantling a vermeil glory in the blue;
And now thin ice films clearest water; now
Our youngest angel whispers out of heaven,
And all the choir of his companions
Let loose their rapture on swift sudden wings,
Sunshine released unhoped-for from a cloud!
Slant rays of opal through the clerestory;
Dawn over solemn heights of lonely snow,
Aerial dawn, that deepens into day;
A congregating of white seraph throngs,
Who hold the realms of ether with white plume,
And with a sweet compulsion lift to heaven!
Ye, Harmonies, expand immeasurably
The temple of our soul, and yet are more,
Than earth can bear; within the courts above
Ye may expatiate majestical,
Native, at home! poor mortals hide their tears,
With caught breath, nor may follow: mountain stairs,
Platform on platform, ye aspire to God!
His infinite Soul who bore you is immortal,
And ours, in whom reverberates your appeal!
O music-marvel! how your royal river
Mirrors our life; there breathes exhaled from it
Sorrow and joy, and triumph and despair;
Your eagle flight is through the infinite,
No barriers to prison from the immense.
Yours the large language of the heights of Heaven!
Now lonely prows, exploring realms unknown,
Unpiloted, beneath wan alien stars,
Your strain recalleth, keels of lonely thought,
Wandering in some sublime bewilderment,
To pioneer where all the world will go,
Now merry buoyancy, as of a boat,
That dips in billowy foam at morning tide.
Ye are alive with yearnings of young love,
Or sombre with immeasurable woe,
Sombre with all the terror of the world,
Wild with the awe and horror of the world,
Begloomed like seas empurpled under cloud,
Reeling and dark with horror of the wind,
Or pale, long heaving under a veiled moon.
Then, with the fading symphony, the master
Drooped, earthward fallen through mortal weariness,
From heights empyreal; he faced the slaves
Now silent, with stilled instruments, who wrought
A fabric for his high imagination,
A chambered palace-pile of echoing sound,
A shadowy fane within the realms of sense.
Drear Silence seems to him to reign: when lo!
A touch, at which he turns! the audience,
Vast, thronged, innumerous have risen before him!
Unhearing the loud storm of their applause,
He sees the tumult of their ocean joy
Thunderously jubilant, in eloquent eyes,
And flashing gems, waved kerchiefs, and moved feet!
So then the solitary master feels
The heart-clasp of our infinite human world,
And bows rejoicing not to be alone.
Ah! brothers, let us work our work, for love Of what the God in us prevails to do! And if, when all is done, the unanswering void And silence weigh upon our souls, remember The music of a lonely heart may help How many lonely hearts unknown to him! The seeming void and silence are aware With audience august, invisible, Who yield thank-offering, encouragement, And strong co-operation; the dim deep Is awful with the God in Whom we move, Who moulds to consummation where we fail, And saith, "Well done!" to every faithful deed, Who in Himself will full accomplish all.
WHEN Love is fading from thy path, a faint re
Whose wond'rous glory crowned thy crest in youth's triumphal morn,
When Friendship yields a willow-wand, once in Love's generous dream,
Leaned on with all thy weight of soul, defying doubt and scorn,
Once deemed inviolable, divine, an oaken staff, a stay, Never to fail thee at thy need in all the perilous way; When thou art tossed from surge to surge, a help
While hell-born lusts and base-born gusts befool thee with vain motion;
When foolish wants and angers in ignoble eddies whirl
A human spirit, formed to front God's glory unashamed:
Nor any Cause colossal, like a catapult, may hurl To splendid goals all powerful souls, chafing, unloved, unnamed:
Then, poet, seek alone resounding hollows of the sea, And plunge thy sullen soul in ocean's grand immensity!
Dare to scale the water mountains! let them topple in loud ruin