Gerald Massey: My Lyrical Life II.

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The story of all stories, sweet and old;
Sweetest to Lovers the last time 'tis told.


CARMINA NUPTIALIA

_______________


WEDDED LOVE.


THIS little spring of life, that feeds the root
    Of England's greatness, giveth, underground,
Bloom to the Flower, and freshness to the Fruit;
    Then wells and spreads, with golden ripples 
        round,
In circling glory to a sea of might,
    Embracing Home and Country of our love:
Half-mirroring the beauty beyond sight,
    To take some likeness of the abode above.

 

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THE WEDDING.


ALL Women love a Wedding! old
    Or youthful; Mother, Widow, or Wife:
It lights with precious gleam of gold
            The river of poorest life:

For one, the gold is far and dim;
    For one, a glimpse of things to be;
But here it sparkles, at the brim
            Of full felicity!

And they will cluster by the way;
    Crowd at this Eden-gate, with eyes
That run, and pray that this Pair may
            Keep their new Paradise.

Green is the garden, as at first;
    As smiling-blue the happy skies,
Where float the bubble-worlds that burst,
            And leave us smarting eyes.

They seem to think that these must clasp
    The jewel turned to dew or mist:
The glamour they could never grasp,
            Though wedded lips have kissed;

That this gold Apple of promise, crowned
    With redness on the sunny side,
Will gradually grow ripe all round;
            That this new Lover and Bride

Must reach the breathing Magic Rose
    Such cunning spirits hold in air,
On which our fingers could not close,
            Even when we knew 'twas there!

This nest of hopes will bring forth young
    Unto the brooding heart's low call—
Not merely pretty birds'-eggs, strung
            To hide a naked wall!

So many start thus, hand-in-hand—
    Few only reach the blessed goal;
But these shall surely see the land
            Hid somewhere in the soul.

And delicate airs creep sweetly through
    Old bridal-chambers dusty and dim:
Down from a far heaven warm and blue,
            The mellow splendours swim.

The Woman's eyes grow loving wet;
    They dazzle with the morning ray:
The Woman's longing will beget
            Her own dear wedding-day!

In his network of wrinkles, Age
    May veil their virgin beauties now;
Faces be furrowed—a strange page
            Of writing on the brow:

The smiling soul cannot erase
    The sad life-lines it shines above;
Yet, imaged in the dear old face,
            You see their own young love!

The sleeping Beauty wakes anew
    Beneath the drops of tender tears;
The Flower unfolds, to drink the dew,
            That seemèd dead for years.

All hearts are as a grove of birds
    Spring-touched and chirruping every one;
And each will set the Wedding-Words
            To a music of her own.

Some withered remnant of old bliss
    Flushing on faded cheeks they bring,
Telling of times when Love's young kiss
            Was a fire-offering;

And spirits walk in white, as starts
    This bridal-tint that blooms anew;
And so, with all their Woman-hearts,
            They fling Good Luck's old shoe!

 

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SERENADE.


"AWAKE, sweet Love, for Heaven is awake,
And waiting to be gracious for thy sake!
        All night I saw thy fairness gleam afar
        With fresh, pure sparkle of the Morning-Star:
        Awake, my Love, and be the veil withdrawn
        From Beauty bathèd at the springs of Dawn.

"Awake, sweet Love, for Heaven is awake
And waiting to be gracious for thy sake.

        A touch upon some silver-sounding string,
        As all the harps of heaven were vibrating
        Within me, woke me, bade me rise and say,
        'Awake, my Love, this is our Wedding-day.'

"Awake, sweet Love, for Heaven is awake,
And waiting to be gracious for thy sake.
        It is the tender time when turtle-doves
        Begin to murmur of their vernal loves:
        Spirits that all night nestled in the flowers
        Shake perfume from their wings this hour of hours.

"Awake, sweet Love, for Heaven is awake,
And waiting to be gracious for thy sake.
        Thy presence sets my cloudland round about
        Glowing as heaven were turning inside out:
        And all the mists that darkened me erewhile
        Are smitten into splendours at thy smile.

"Awake, sweet Love, for Heaven is awake
And waiting to be gracious for thy sake.
        To feel thee mine my faith is large enough,
        And yet the miracle needs continual proof!
        One minute satisfied, the next I pine
        For just one more assurance thou art mine.

"Awake, sweet Love, for Heaven is awake,
And waiting to be gracious for thy sake.
        Our great sunrise of life begins to glow,
        And all the buds of love are ripe to blow;
        And all the Birds of Bliss are gaily singing,
        And all the Bells of Heaven for bridal ringing."

 

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ARGUING IN A CIRCLE.


"WHEN first my true Love crowned me with her 
        smile,
Methought that heaven encircled me the while!
When first my true Love to mine arms was given,
Ah, then methought that I encircled Heaven."

 

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AN APRIL WEDDING.


O APRIL Wedding,
     Sad-smiling, shadowy-bright;
The Grave at foot, and overhead
     The merry Bird of Light!

O April Wedding,
     The conscious ear at times
Detects the Bell that tolled the knell
     Among the Marriage-Chimes!

O April Wedding,
     Thy hues together run,—
Through wet eyes seen,—as Red and Green
     Will dazzle and grow one!

O April Wedding,
     Where Love is crowned in tears,
And on a ground of deepest gloom,
     Hope's brightest Bow appears!

O April Wedding,
     Thy clouds go all in white;
Those that darkliest wept are now
     Most glorified in light!

O April Wedding,
     Glittering in sun and showers
The very grave looks glad To-day,
     And dead hands offer flowers!

 

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LEAVE-TAKING.


When the wings are feathered,
    The birds forsake their nest;
So the Bride will leave her Home
    Leaning to her Lover's breast.
The tear was in her eye,
    But the soul was smiling through,
Brimful of sunshine
    As a drop of summer dew.

 

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AS THEY PASSED.


Within Love's chariot, side by side,
Sweetness and Strength did never ride
More perfectly personified:
         One of the dearest Angels out
         Of Heaven, the Bride was, beyond doubt;
         And his a Manhood fit to be
         The mortal Mansion of some deity.
         All eyes, like jewels, on them hung
            Glowing with precious life,
         As at her Husband's side she clung,
            The nestled, new-made Wife!
Glad were they in the happiness they gave,
But in their own proud pleasure they were grave.

 

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EVOË.


IN the presence of Spring, our beautiful Spring,
Blithe bird of the bosom! the heart will sing.
A Spirit of Joy in the oldest breast
Is stirring, and making it young as the rest:
Quickens new life to leap in each limb,
And laugh out of eyes that were wintry and dim;
So the old Wine stirs in his winter gloom,
And wants to waken, and climb, and bloom,
As he used to do in the world outside,
When the grapes grew big in their purple of pride.
He would laugh in the light, he would flush in the 
        foam;
In a care-drowning wave he would rosily roam;
For his blood is so mellow, so merry, so warm,
Into spirit of joy it would fain transform,
Rioting ruddily, ripple and play,
And in human life keep holiday—
Break on the brain in a luminous spray,
Tinting with heaven our earthiest clay;
In a fiery chariot mount on his way,
With spirit-company, lordly and gay,
And pass like a soul that is lost in day.
So the Spirit of Joy in the oldest breast
Is stirring, and making it young as the rest;
Wakes a new life to leap in each limb,
And laugh out of eyes that were wintry and dim.
Blithe bird of the bosom! the heart will sing
In the presence of Spring, our beautiful Spring.

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ENGLISH John Talbot, Shakspeare's terribly brave,
Great Fighter, lay in his forgotten grave.
It was but yesterday they found his dust,
The sheath of that old Sword long gone to rust
In English earth; his burial-place recover
In lands owned by a certain Lordly Lover.
And, lo! a Rose had sprung from out his tomb,
And climbed about the Lover's life to bloom:
A peerless flower of the old Hero's stock—
The tenderest gush from that heroic rock.
Not oft doth Fate vouchsafe so plain a sign,
Prefiguring the lives that are to twine.
All sweetness to this wedded life be given;
Its root so deep in earth, its perfect flower in 
      heaven.

 

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A WAYSIDE WHISPER.


"SEVEN years I served for you,
  To Love, our lord of life,
Ere he made me a Master
  And I won you for my wife,—
So faithfully, so fondly,
  Through a world of doubts and fears,
Seven long years, Belovèd!
  Seven long years.

"Seven years you beaconed me—
  My leading, crowning star,
To climb the Mount of Manhood,
  As you drew me from afar:
You made my gray hours golden,
  You glistened through my tears,
Seven long years, Belovèd!
  Seven long years.

"Sometimes you shined so near me—
  Wide as we dwelt apart—
I hardly sought you with my arms,
  You were so safe at heart!
Sometimes you dwined so distant,
  I bowed with solemn fears;
Seven long years, Belovèd!
  Seven long years.

"I built my Arch of Triumph
  For you to ride through;
I kept my lamps all lighted
  That the warring winds outblew:
I worked and I waited,
  And I fought down my fears,
Seven long years, Belovèd!
  Seven long years.

"Now the perils are all over,
  And the pains all past,
My fortune's wheel full-circle comes
  In your dear eyes at last!
For such a prize the winning
  Most brief and poor appears,
Yet, 'twas seven long years, Belovèd!
  Seven long years."

 

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THE WELCOME HOME.


WARM is the Welcome! 'tis our way to grasp
    The hand in love or greeting till it ache;
    But to a tender heart our love doth take
The happy pair it doth so proudly clasp.

And very tender in its love To-day
    Is every heart touched with a thought of Him
    Low-lying in the Cypress-shadow dim,
From which we came to waft you on your way,

And the still face, that looks from Ashridge towers
    With smile more regnant in its touching ruth,
    And sad hoar-frost upon the dews of youth,
And Widow's weeds to mix with bridal-flowers.

Through Him we lost, we have more love to give.
    As some fond Mother yearningly hath breathed
    Her life out in the new life she bequeathed,
Our dearest died that this great love might live.

These darling Violets eloquently mute,
    Are rich in sadder bloom and sweeter breath,
    And that pathetic sanctity of death,
Because our buried joy was at their root.

These Roses blush with a more vital glow
    Of crimson—like pale buds, whose tips are red,
    As though the flower's heart, in breaking, bled—
Because of looks so lately wan with woe.

These are our Jewels! tears that purged our sight
    Like Euphrasy; they lay above the Dead
    All drear and dim; but the sad drops we shed
Now live with twinkling lustres in Your light!

The love that darkly wept at heart hath risen
    Transfigured.   See its sunburst in each face!
    As Earth, with all her flowers, smiles embrace
To Spring, rejoicing from her wintry prison.

These Voices, mounting merry as Larks up-spring,
    But now were praying on the low, cold sod:
    The night is past—they soar in praise to God;
They make the old English greeting rarely ring.

We lean and look to You, thinking of Him.
    Warm welcome for the sake of One that's gone;
    Warm welcome for your own!   Pass on, pass on;
We wave our hands, and shout till sight grows dim:

And, ere the shouts cease ringing in your ears,
    We drink a health—all standing—drink to you,
    While in our eyes the tears are standing too:
Old tears, that wanted to be wept for years:

But keep a holy hush 'mid all the noise,
    To match the silent music your hearts make:
    Pass on into your faëry heaven, and take
Our gentlest blessing on your wedding joys.

The dawn will rise, though golden days be set;
    The birds sing merrily, in spite of Death;
    Young hearts will love while lasts this human 
           breath;
Rainbows bridge Earth and Heaven for eyes tear-
           wet.

Pass gaily on in glory through the gate
    Of your new life, beneath this Bridal-Dawn;
    And when from future days the veil is drawn
All happy fortunes for you lie in wait!

And, looking on your bliss, with proudest flush
    May the dear Mother's face be glorified.
    We, now the sound hath ceased, will stand 
           outside
Your Portals—all hearts praying 'mid the hush.

 

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THE BONNY BRIDELAND FLOWER.


IN the Brideland sleeping,
    Nestled Beauty's Flower;
Came the Lover peeping
   Into her green bower;
On her face hung tender
    As a drop of dew;
With her virgin splendour
    Thrilling through and through.

Now, the shy, sweet maiden
    Softly droops her head:
All her heart is laden
    With his coming tread!
Now the new dawn breaketh
    In a blush of bliss;
The Belovèd waketh
    At her Troth-love's kiss.

In our dull gray weather
    We have seen her bloom;
Fain as Exiles gather
    Round some flower from Home;
Seen the face that never
    Fades away, but gleams,
With its still smile, ever
    Through the land of Dreams.

Fair befall the bonny,
    Bonny Brideland flower!
All things dear and sunny
    Bless her bridal bower!
Truest love e'er given
    Feed her new life-root;
And thou God in heaven,
    Crown the flower with fruit.

 

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A LOVER'S SONG.


"ONE so fair—none so fair.
    In her eyes so true
Love's most inner Heaven bare
    To the balmiest blue!

"One so fair—none so fair.
    In the skies no Star
Like my Star of Earth so near—
    They but shine afar.

"One so fair—none so fair.
    All too sweet it seems:
Wake me not, O world of care,
    If I walk in dreams.

"One so fair—none so fair.
    O my bosom-guest,
Love ne'er smiled a happier pair
    To the bridal-nest.

"One so fair—none so fair.
    Lean to me, sweet Wife:
Light will be the load we bear:
    Two hearts in one life."

 

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THE MARRIED LIFE.


O HAPPY love of weans and Wife,
    Ye make a man's heart dance;
Kindle the desert face of life
    With colours of romance:

A Land of Promise sparkles where
    Your rosier light hath shone;
Too distant to attain, but near
    Enough to tempt us on.

'Tis here that Heaven striketh root
    To give the Immortal birth,
Man tastes the unforbidden fruit
    That deifies on earth.

All ye that such a Garden own,
    Of wingèd thieves beware,
And trifles, light as thistle-down,
    That sow the seeds of care.

Only in singleness of heart,
    Ye keep the heaven ye win!
When Wife and Husband pull apart
    The Serpent glideth in.

 

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VIA CRUCIS VIA LUCIS.


SPITE of the Mask Eternal Love doth wear
At times, that makes us shrink from it in fear,
Because the Father's face we cannot find,
Nor feel the presence of His love behind,
Nature at heart is very pitiful.

How gentle is the hand doth kindly pull
The coverlet of flowers o'er the face
Of Death, and light up his dark dwelling-place!
With fingers and with foot-fall soft and low
She comes to make the quiet mosses grow:
Safe-smiling, draws the Snowdrop through the snow.
Busy in sun and rain, she strives to heal,
Doing her best to comfort or conceal:
With tenderest grass makes green the saddest 
        grave,
And over death her flags of life will wave.
She is the Angel, waiting by the prison,
That saith, "He is not here, he is arisen,"
When lorn in soul we seek the face we knew,
And dream of buried sweetness coming through
The earth in spring-time, every flower a smile
Of that dear Presence we have lost awhile.

Thus, on our old Crimean battle-ground,
A poor, unknown, dead Soldier's bones were 
        found—
(Known with those noble Englishmen of ours!)
When the next May came with her sweet Wild 
        Flowers,
Nestled they lay above-ground in a grave
Of tall, plumed grass, funereally a-wave
In the West wind that breathed of Home: and 
        tender
There rose from earth a dawn of such spring-
        splendour,
As if the heavens were breaking through the tomb:
The Wild Flowers had so buried them in bloom.

And, if we lift our eyes up from the ground,
We see how surely life is compassed round
With the Divine, that doth so kindly bound
The pitiless blaze of fires that soon would scorch
To ashes and put out our tiny torch
Of being; veil the vastness of the Whole,
As with drooped eyelids for the naked soul.
The silent Ministers of Healing crowd
About the broken heart and spirit bowed,
To stay the bleeding with immortal balm,
And still the cries with lips of blessèd calm;
Out of the old death make the new life spring,
Our earthly-buried hopes take heavenward wing;
And to each blinding tear that dimmed our sight,
They give a starrier self; a Spirit of Light.
No matter in what separate lives we range,
We feel a rootage deeper than all change.
We know the roses flower to fade: We know
The roses also fade again to blow.
Death is Life's Shadow!

                                             Mute the music looks,
And dark and dead when shadowed forth in books:
Do but interpret it, all heaven will roll
The Life of Music through the echoing soul.

So we grow friends, familiar friends, with Death;
Can look up in his face with firmer faith,
To see the frowning brows shade tender eyes,
Like sunny openings into Paradise.

Through all the gloom and stillness of distress,
With life all muffled up in silentness,
We voyage on—ice-locked, snow-blind, frost-
        bound—
Like Sailors with the Arctic winter round,
Who thought they stranded in the dark, and found
The solid water all one floating ground;
And drifted through the night, divinely drawn,
Out to the open sea, where daylight shone.

The Shadow of Death is changed into the Dawn,
That radiant Angel of Eternity!
The mourners look up from the grave to see
The dark, that bowed them by its awfulness,
Fell from the Father's hands, spread out to bless.
So, in His own good season, God hath given
This beautiful Joy-Bringer from His Heaven,
To bear His benediction from above,
And be the smiling Presence of His love!
Though heaviness endureth for a night,
Joy cometh with the morning.    Lo! the Light.
Gone is the winter from our spirit-clime;
This is the herald of our golden time.
In all the beauty of promise, Spring is here—
Our Spring—that will be with us all the year.

O, beautiful Joy-Bringer! everywhere
Happiness smiles around you, like an air
Of glory, which you dwell in—Starrily-fair!
The lives that have in mourning darkling lain
Now gather colour; sun them once again.
The tender shine that cometh after rain
Illumes the eyes of old heart-ache: the pain
Of loss transmuted to all-golden gain.

Just now we are in the shadow of great change,
And faces darken, and old things grow strange;
And from the new Unknown a many shrink.
Our world is getting tilted, Sages think.
"The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees"
All that is left us.   Shame on fears like these!
Whate'er Eclipse may come, storm-signals threat,
We are English yet, my friends, true English yet.
We are standing in the shadow of some sublime
Wide-wingèd Angel of the coming time.
No need to wring our own hands. Let us clasp
Each other's strongly with a manlier grasp.
No fear the pillars of the house will fall
Because we brush our cobwebs from the wall.
Exultingly, O storm-winds, rise and roll
All misty blight from off the stagnant soul,
And lift its trailing wing to winnow through
The cloudy heaven, and bare it to the blue.
As in the very heart of Hope we'll ride,
Borne on the ninth wave of our triumph's tide,
That with its new life heaves Old England's 
        breast,
To lift the lowly, succour the oppressed;
Only be loyal to the Loftiest.
Arise and crown old sanctities anew,
By nobler conquest make your lordship true;
Awake the spirit in our English blood,
That slowly brightens to the fervid flood,
And does not flash till the leap comes that shows
Power all the lustier for its long repose.
And if the proudest Nobles have to bow,
Then let it be as Rowers bend to row
A sturdier stroke; and faint not, though ye know
Not under what dark arch we have to go:
But win the nod of an approving soul,
Even though ye never reach your chosen goal.

O! young hearts, dancing to the rise and fall
Of life's most winsome tune at festival,
Looking on your new world wherein ye move
With all the large, sweet wonder of young 
        love,
The moments thronging with the life of years;
Crowded with happiness and quick to tears;
New smiles of greeting in each minute's face;
New worlds of pleasure brimming every space;
This is no winter-withered earth to you.
Love comes, and life is deified anew!
And hearts grow larger than their fortunes are.
The horizon lifts around, sublime and far,
With god-like breathing-space—an ample scope
For loftier life, and glorious ground for hope.
Turn, happy Lovers, turn on those below
A little of the light in which ye glow;
A little of your sunshine round you shed,
And make our old world blossom where ye tread.
Bring back a little seed from Eden-bowers
To sow our fallows with immortal flowers.
Ah!   Nobles, what a chance is yours to be
The founders of a lordlier Chivalry!
And, with the proud old fire this people lead.
When they were weak, I threatened; now I plead,
Give eyes to their blind strength, for great the 
        need.

The Word of Life is well-nigh preached to death;
The Flower of all sweetness withereth,
Crushed in the grip of many that handle it,
As though they thought Life would but yield its 
        sweet
In giving up the breath; shut the live flower
In a dead Book, and kill it every hour
By reason of their clasp:
                                                We want the Book
Translated into life, not the mere look
Of Life embalmed and shrouded in the Book.
We want the life indeed, quick in the lives
Of Fathers, Mothers, Children, Husbands, Wives.
We need the life itself—lived in the Home
On Week-days, ere, the Sabbath-rest will come
To many a homeless hungerer for home.

We pray "Thy Kingdom Come."    But not by 
        prayer
Can it be ever built of breath in air.
In life through labour, must be brought to birth
The Kingdom; as it is in heaven, on Earth.
The light that left Heaven centuries ago
Hath not yet reached dark myriads here below:
Your lives should be the lamp that bears this light,
Still burning, as the stars through all the night.
Because ye are looked up to, they would mark
Your shining!
                            O, the spirits lying dark
To-day, as jewels waiting but the spark
Of splendour that to Love's dear smile is given,
To brighten with the best that brighten Heaven!
Look down, you Shining Ones, look kindly down,
And save them, set as jewels in your crown.

How beautiful upon the mountain height,
The feet of them that bring the Lowly light—
O'ershadowing, on wings of gentle Love,
The faults and failings that they soar above!
How beautiful the face of those whose smile
Doth make rare sunshine in the heart of Toil;
In low, sick rooms a presence as of Health;
The true Rich folk, in whom the Poor have wealth!
A beautiful life begets itself anew
In other lives, as perfume stealing through
The sense creates the flower to live again;
Its spirit re-embodied in the brain.

Heartfull of shining love and singing hopes,
Come down where life, blind-folded, gnome-like 
        gropes.
We house the Poor to lie and die.   But give
Them room to stand in; house the Poor to live;
A little touch of clasping hands might prove
Mightiest of all the languages of Love.
Give them a glimpse of kindlier, sweeter grace,
And be the model of a nobler race—
The living Poem that we may not write;
The Picture that we cannot paint to sight;
The Music that we dream but do not get;
The Statue marble never mirrored yet.

Now while the Thrush upon the barest bough
Stands piping high in azure, telling how
The Spring-wind wanders where the Children go
A-violeting by the warm hedge-row;
Daily more rich the Sallow-palms unfold
And change their silver-gray for sunny gold;
"Good-bye, Old Winter," the blue heavens laugh;
"The flowers shall write you a kindly epitaph,"
Far on a sea of Light the twinkling Lark
Is launched, and floating like a heaven-bound 
        bark,
In which some happy spirit sails and sings,
And stirs us in a dream of waking wings,
With homeward yearnings, heavenward flutterings,
As all about the inner life there plays
A breath of bliss from out old innocent days,—
Now, while the Spring mounts somewhere up the blue,
We bring our firstling flowers to offer you!
Violets, dim and tender; glad Primroses,
That promise, ere the happy prospect closes,
Ye, hand in hand, through rosier days shall tread
Green earth, with richer glories garlanded;
Where the wild Hyacinths, all a-dreaming, lean,
In peeps of deep sea-azure through the green;
And Summer sets that Golden Age of hers
A-bloom, in mellow miles of yellow Furze;
While, smiling down the distance, Autumn stands,
The ripened fruitage glowing in his hands.

And, if among the flowers some few appear
Sacred to woe, and leaning with the tear
Still in the eyes, I did but seek the leaf
Of Healing—gather Heartsease for the grief:
Nor are they tears, but rather drops of dew
From heaven, that hidden Love is looking through.

As, after death, our Lost Ones grow our Dearest,
So, after death, our Lost Ones come the nearest:
They are not lost in distant worlds above;
They are our nearest link in God's own love—
The human hand-clasps of the Infinite,
That life to life, spirit to spirit knit!
They fill the rift they made, like veins of gold
In fire-rent fissures torture-torn of old;
With sweetness store the empty place they left,
As of wild honey in the rock's bare cleft.
In hidden ways they aid this life of ours,
As Sunshine lends a finger to the flowers,
Shadowed and shrouded in the Wood's dim heart,
To climb by while they push their grave apart.

They think of us at Sea, who are safe on Shore;
Light up the cloudy coast we struggle for!
The ancient terror of Eternity—
The dark destroyer, crouching in Life's sea
To wreck us—is thus Beaconed, and doth stand
As our Deliverer, with a lamp in hand.
We would not put them from us when we are sad;
We will not shut them from us when we are glad;
Nor thrust our Angel from the Marriage Feast,
Although he comes, not clothèd like the rest
In visible garment of a Wedding-Guest.

Now pray we.
                           Lord of Life, look smiling down
Upon this Pair; with choicest blessings crown
Their love; the beauty of the Flower bring
Back to the bud again in some new spring!
Long may they walk the blessèd life together
With wedded hearts that still make golden weather,
And keep the chill of winter far aloof
With inward warmth when snow is on the roof;
Wed in that sweet for-ever of Love's kiss,
Like two rich notes made one in bridal bliss.

We would not pray that sorrow ne'er may shed
Her dews along the pathway they must tread:
The sweetest flowers would never bloom at all
If no least rain of tears did ever fall.
In joy the soul is bearing human fruit;
In grief it may be taking divine root.

Come joy or grief, nestle them near to Thee
In happy love twin for eternity!
They take our Darling's place; long may they be
As glad and beautiful a hope as he
Hath left a bright and blessèd memory:
Their day fulfil the promise of his dawn—
That, as with Thee, he may with us live on.

 

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ANCIENT EGYPT.


EGYPT! how I have dwelt with you in dreams,
So long, so intimately, that it seems
As if you had borne me; though I could not know,
It was so many thousand years ago!
And in my gropings darkly underground
The long-lost memory at last is found
Of Motherhood—you Mother of us all!
And to my fellow-men I must recall
The memory too; that common Motherhood
May help to make the common brotherhood.

Egypt! it lies there in the far-off past,
Opening with depths profound and growths as vast
As the great valley of Yosemité;
The birthplace out of darkness into day;
The shaping matrix of the human mind;
The Cradle and the Nursery of our kind.
This was the land created from the flood,
The land of Atum, made of the red mud,
Where Num sat in his Teba throned on high,
And saw the deluge once a year go by,
Each brimming with the blessing that it brought,
And by that water-way, in Egypt's thought,
The Gods descended; but they never hurled
A Deluge that should desolate the world.

There the vast Hewers of the early time
Built, as if that way they would surely climb
The heavens; and left their labours without name—
Colossal as their carelessness of fame—
Sole likeness of themselves—that heavenward
For ever look with statuesque regard,
As if some Vision of the Eternal grown
Petrific, was for ever fixed in stone!
They watched the Moon re-orb, the Stars go round,
And drew the Circle; Thought's primordial bound.
The Heavens looked into them with living eyes,
To kindle starry thoughts in other skies,
For us reflected in the image-scroll
That night by night the stars for aye unroll.

The Royal Heads of Language bow them down
To lay in Egypt's lap each borrowed crown.
The light of Asia was of Afric born;
Africa, dusky Mother of the Morn;
She bore the Babe-Messiah meek and mild,
The Good Lord Horus, the Eternal child:
The unhistoric Saviour,—hence divine—
Buddha in India; Christ in Palestine!
The glory of Greece was but the After-glow
Of her forgotten greatness lying low.
Her Hieroglyphics buried dark as night,
Or coal-deposits filled with future light,
Are mines of meaning; by their light we see
Through many an overshadowing mystery.

The nursing Nile is living Egypt still,
And as her lowlands with its freshness fill,
And heave with double-breasted bounteousness,
So doth the old Hidden Source of Wisdom bless
The nations; secretly she brought to birth,
And Egypt yet enriches all the earth.

 

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EGYPTIAN ELYSIUM.


Who ploughed and sowed as Mortals, and their 
        furrows straightly drew,
They are Gods that reap, says Horus, in the Aah-en-Ru.

The bark of Khepr bears us, with the good fruits 
        that we grew;
Let them sweat who have to tow it to the Aah-en-Ru!

The Gods at rest are hailing the endeavours of our 
        Crew,
As the Solar Bark goes sailing for the Aah-en-Ru.

Strike the Ap-Ap monster breathless; break his 
        bones, in pieces hew
The coils he rings them with who voyage to the 
        Aah-en-Ru!

We can never die again; we shall soar as spirits do;
No more turning into Reptiles in the Aah-en-Ru.

We shall make our Transformations, and in linen 
        pure of hue,
We shall work in white for ever in the Aah-en-Ru.

We shall find the old lost faces and the nestling 
        young that flew
Like Hawks divine, gold-feathered, to the Aah-en-Ru.

We shall see the good Osiris and his son the Word-
        made-True,
Who died and rose—the Karest!—in the Aah-en-Ru.—

He who daily dies to save us, passing Earth and 
        Hades through;
Lays his life down for a pathway to the Aah-en-Ru.

Lo! the Cross of life uplifted in the region of 
        Tattu,
With its arms outstretched for welcome to the 
        Aah-en-Ru!

We shall follow in the Gateways that our God hath 
        travelled through:
He will meet us, he will greet us, in the Aah-en-Ru.

Here we talk of all the glory that each morning 
        doth renew,
We shall share it, we shall wear it, in the Aah-en-Ru.

Here we filled the Eye of Horus, here we fed the 
        Eye of Shu,
To be luminous for ever in the Aah-en-Ru.

 

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THE KRONIAN GODS.


AYE keeping their eternal track,
    The Deities of old
Went to and fro, and there and back,
    In boats of starry gold.

For ever true, they cycled round
    The Heavens, sink or climb;
To boundless dark a radiant bound,
    And, to the timeless, Time:

Till mortals looking forth in death
    Across the deluge dark,
Besought the Gods to save their breath
    In Light's Celestial Ark.

To the revolving Stars they prayed,
    While sinking back to Earth;
"In passing through the world of Shade,
    Oh, give us thy re-birth!"

And ever a Sun beyond the Sun
    Quickened the human root
With longings after life, that run
    And spring with heavenward shoot.

Their yearnings kindled such a light
    Within them, so divine,
That Death encompassed them with night,
    To show the starrier shine.

 

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PROTOPLASM.


(PROFESSOR OF PHYSICS LOQUITUR.)


THE marvel of it is that when you have
Your Protoplasm perfect, Life is there
Already with its spontaneities,
Its secret primal powers all at work;
Currents of force unfollowably swift;
Unceasing gleams of glory ungraspable;
Pulses of pleasure and sharp stings of pain;
Flashes of lightning fastened up in knots,
And passion-fires bound down in prison cells.
All's there, when we can say 'tis Protoplasm.

Lymph, serum, semen, blood, or nettle-juice,
Are worlds of life, and glassy seas of life,
That heave with life, and spawn and swarm with 
        life;
A universe of life that lurks behind
The infinitely little as the large;
Life-giving and life-taking; fierce with life
As though the hive of life rushed forth on wings,
Or some life-furnace shed its fire in sparks;
Moving to harmonies unutterable
Through the surrounding dark, and beautiful
As planetary wheelings in the heavens.
Nor can you have your Matter unmixed with 
        Mind;
The Consciousness it comes from, with the intent
That is fulfilled in Consciousness to be!
For there's no particle of Protoplasm
Panting with life, like a bird newly caught,
As with a heart-beat out of the Unseen,
But comes with all its secret orders sealed
Within it, safe as crumpled fronds of fern,
To be unfolded in due season; all
Potentialities of tendency,
Initial forces of diversity
And modes of motion which are forms of thought;
Likings, dislikings, all are there at work
When we can say life is in Protoplasm.
And that's creation seen; caught in the act,
Although the Actor be invisible.

'Tis no use thrusting in the earth one's head
To be annihilated from behind.
Here is the fact that must be faced in front.
'Tis no use varnishing the face of things
Merely to see one's own reflected there!
This Matter of life will not make Life itself,
No more than Matter of thought will make the 
        Thinker.
We have more Matter of thought than Shakspeare 
        had,
But no more Shakspeares in our mental world.

Life is the unfathomable miracle
That mocks us mutely, while we prate of Law,
At just that distance from the surface where
Its features loom the largest as it lurks.
Form is but fossil: life's the running spring.
We see the rhythmic thrills that come and go,
But Life itself is always just beyond—
Is not precipitated, as the pearl,
Within our grasp, however deep we dive.
'Tis like the first star in the twilight heaven
You lie in wait for, never see it coming,
Catch the first twinkle; suddenly 'tis there,
As though it watched you while you winked, and 
        was
There, had been, busy, from eternity.

In vain you look for life beginning; 'tis
But known to us in its becoming! 'tis
Illimitable continuity!
In vain you try to untwist it to the end
That snaps off like the Periwinkle's tail.

We feel through all the universe to touch
The physical, and find it all alike,
Here underfoot the same as overhead,
Dust of the earth or glory of the star,
The Matter yields no closer clasp of Life.

We build our Babels higher than of old
Firmer, but get no nearer Heaven that way:
On the outside of things we stand to rear
Our scaffolding, while Life works from within.

Life haunts me like a Ghost that's never laid,
Yet wavering ever as a face in water.
I shift my ground, I quit my premises,
I seek an undisturbed abiding-place,
As the poor Peasant left his haunted house
To flee from its old ghostly visitant
For peace of mind; and mid-way on the road
To his new dwelling heard the Ghost's wee voice,
From out the middle of a feather-bed,
Or God knows where, cry, "AND I'M FLITTING TOO!"

No sooner do I set my world on wheels,
Atom revolving round its fellow mite,
The universe in little grasped by Law,
Than there's a living face within the wheels,
As in the Prophet's vision.   I'm no prophet,
And had no wish to see a spirit; wheels
Were made to run and carry, not to dazzle
And dizzy us until our eyes strike spirits—
That puts a new face on the matter, or
The Soul of things must make a face at me!

I get a good grip-hold of things themselves,
And then am lost in their relationships.
No sooner have I pitched my tent in Matter,
And feel it firm to rest on, palpable,
Tangible as a tombstone underfoot,
Than 'tis a sieve that lets the quick life through;
There is a general rising from the Dead,
And rending of the veil; the grave's astir
As though each atom were the womb of Life;
Twixt each two atoms there's a gulf of God;
My atom is afloat, adrift with me;
It rocks and quakes like any modern throne;
No anchorage in all Immensity!

O'erhead I draw the cloud of darkness round
About me, proof against the common light,
When lo! the gloom begins to laugh at me;
The life breaks in and out, darts through and 
        through,
Like Lightning playing at hide-and-seek with me;
Darkness is freaked and shattered with that laugh
Zig-zagged upon the face of the Unknown.

This light within, that will break through the seen,
Cannot be phosphorescence from the dead
And luminosity of mere decay,
A corpse-light of the Grave, or else the Soul
Of all were but a gleam through a dead skull,
Lit up to show the eyeless emptiness,
And Death would be sole quickener of Life.

'Tis in the shadow of the Sepulchre
Perchance I sit to watch and wait in vain
For that which must arise within myself
To lighten through me and illuminate
My seeing; touch mine ear to hear the voice—
"I am the resurrection and the life;
Presence that lives in light and looks through form;"
And he who hides without must bring to light
The meaning by his presence in the soul.
Perchance God speaks to us in parable,
And Matter is but symbol used by Mind,
The visible show that needs interpreting
By second-sight to read the eternal thought;
And I am as a blind man, one who feels
The letters raised, shaped to the sense of touch,
But have not learned to read what they reveal,
So miss the letter-link from soul to soul.

He breathed the breath of life and man became
A living soul—with power to propagate
The spark His breath yet kindles into soul?
And is He breathing yet, as at the first,
This breath of life through all things? Is his 
        breath
Our motion—wave of the Eternal Will
In Evolution welling, warm with love?
Are laws that fold us arms of His embrace?
And is life visible breathing of His being?
Matter but so much breath made visible—
The cloud-mask shifting on the Protean face;
And is it need of Him that makes us breathe?
And so we live and have our life in Him
Who is the life indeed for evermore;
The heart of Life whose throbs are visible worlds
Of men and women and immortal souls?

So the voice murmurs when I shut my eyes
And lean and listen on some crumbling verge,
And hear the waters in the well of life
Sing, as they bubble with an eye to heaven,
And might know more could I but drink, but have
Nothing to draw with, and the well's so deep!


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