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When thou shalt climb the mountain cliff,
Or see the wide shore from thy skiff,
To thee the horizon shall express
Only emptiness and emptiness.
There is no man of nature's worth
In the circle of the earth;
And to thine eye the vast skies fall
Dire and satirical
On clucking hens, and prating fools,
On thieves, on drudges, and on dolls.
And thou shalt say to the Most High,
‘Godhead! all this astronomy,
And Fate, and practice, and invention,
Strong art, and beautiful pretension,
This radiant pomp of sun and star,
Throes that were, and worlds that are,
Behold! were in vain and in vain;-
It cannot be,~I will look again,-
Surely now will the curtain rise,
And earth's fit tenant me surprise;
But the curtain doth not rise,
And Nature has miscarried wholly
Into failure, into folly.'
“Alas! thine is the bankruptcy,
Blessed Nature so to see.
Come lay thee in my soothing shade,
And heal the hurts which sin has made.
I will teach the bright parable
Older than time,
Visions sut lime.
I see thee in the crowd alone;
I will be thy companion.
Let thy friends be as the dead in doom,
And build to them a final tomb;
Let the starred shade which mighty falls
Still celebrate their funerals,
And the bell of beetle and of bee
Knell their melodious memory.
Behind thee leave thy merchandise, Thy churches and thy charities, And leave thy peacock wit behind; Enough for thee the primal mind That flows in streams, that breathes in wind. Leave all thy pedant lore apart; God hid the whole world in thy heart. Love shuns the sage, the child it crowns, And gives them all who all renounce. The rain comes when the wind calls; The river knows the way to the sea; Without a pilot it runs and falls, Blessing all lands with its charity. The sea tosses and foams to find Its way up to the cloud and wind; The shadow sits close to the flying ball, The date fails not on the palm-tree tall; And thou,-go burn thy wormy pages, Shalt outsee the seer, outwit the sages. Oft didst thou thread the woods in vain To find what bird had piped the strain,Seek not, and the little eremite Flies gaily forth and sings in sight.
“Hearken once more;
I will tell the mundane lore.
Older am I than thy numbers wot;
Change I may, but I
Hitherto all things fast abide,
And anchored in the tempest ride.
Trendrant time behoves to hurry
All to yean and all to bury;
All the forms are fugitive,
But the substances survive.
Ever fresh the broad creation,
A divine improvisation,
From the heart of God proceeds,
A single will, a million deeds.
Once slept the world an egg of stone,
And pulse and sound and light was none;
And God said, “Throb;' and there was motion,
And the vast mass became vast ocean.
Onward and on, the eternal Pan,
Who layeth the world's incessant plan,
Halteth never in one shape,
But for ever doth escape,
Like wave or flame, into new forms
Of gem and air, of plants and worms.
I, that to-day am a pine,
Yesterday was a bundle of grass.
He is free and libertine,
Pouring of his power the wine
To every age, to every race;
Unto every race and age
He emptieth the beverage;
Unto each, and unto all,
Maker and original.
The world is the ring of his spells,
And the play of his miracles.
As he giveth to all to drink,
Thus or thus they are and think.
He giveth little or giveth much,
To make them several or such:
With one drop sheds form and feature,
With the second a special nature;
The third adds heat's indulgent spark;
The fourth gives light which eats the dark.
In the fifth drop himself he flings,
And conscious Law is King of Kings.
Pleaseth him the Eternal Child
To play his sweet will, glad and wild.
As the bee through the garden ranges,
From world to world the godhead changes;
As the sheep go feeding through the waste,
From form to form he maketh haste.
This vault which glows immense with light
Is the inn where he lodges for a night.
What recks such Traveller if the bowers,
Which bloom and fade like summer flowers,
A bunch of fragrant lilies be,
Or the stars of eternity?
Alike to him the better, the worse,
The glowing angel, the outcast corse.
Thou metest him by centuries,
And lo! he passes like the breeze;
Thou seek'st in globe and galaxy,
He hides in pure transparency;
Thou askest in fountains and in fires,
He is the essence that enquires.
He is the axis of the star;
He is the sparkle of the spar;
He is the heart of every creature;
He is the meaning of each feature;
And his mind is the sky,
Than all it holds more deep, more high.”
HIMSELF it was who wrote
His rank, and quartered his own coat.
There is no king nor sovereign state
That can fix a hero's rate;
Each to all is venerable,
Until he write, where all eyes rest,
Slave or master on his breast.
I saw men go up and down
In the country and the town,
With this prayer upon their neck,
“Judgment and a judge we seek."
Not to monarchs they repair,
Nor to learned jurist's chair;
But they hurry to their peers,
To their kinsfolk and their dears;
Louder than with speech they pray,
“What am I? companion; say."
And the friend not hesitates
To assign just place and mates,
Answers not in word or letter,
Yet is understood the better ;-
Is to his friend a looking-glass,
Reflects his figure that doth pass.
Fvery wayfarer he meets
What himself declared, repeats;
What himself confessed, records;
Sentences him in his words.
The form is his own corporal form,
And his thought the penal worm.
Yet shine for ever virgin minds,
Loved by stars and purest winds,
Which, o'er passion throned sedate,
Have not hazarded their state,
Disconcert the searching spy,
Rendering to a curious eye
The durance of a granite ledge
To those who gaze from the sea's edge.
It is there for benefit,
It is there for purging light,
There for purifying storms,
And its depths-reflect all forms;
It cannot parley with the mean,--
Pure by impure is not seen.
For there's no sequestered grot,
Lone mountain-tarn, or isle forgot,
But Justice journeying in the sphere
Daily stoops to harbour there.