« ПретходнаНастави »
Yet, blow the spark, it runs back, spreads itself
A little where the fire was : thus I urge
The soul that served me, till it task once more
What ashes of my brain have kept their shape,
And these make effort on the last o' the flesh,
Trying to taste again the truth of things —”
(He smiled) —“their very superficial truth ;
As that ye are my sons, that it is long
Since James and Peter had release by death,
And I am only he, your brother John,
Who saw and heard, and could remember all.
Remember all! It is not much to say.
What if the truth broke on me from above
As once and ofttimes? Such might hap again :
Doubtlessly He might stand in presence here,
With head wool-white, eyes flame, and feet like brass,
The sword and the seven stars, as I have seen —
I who now shudder only and surmise
• How did your brother bear that sight and live ?'
“If I live yet, it is for good, more love
Through me to men : be naught but ashes here
That keep awhile my semblance, who was John -
Still, when they scatter, there is left on earth
No one alive who knew (consider this !)
- Saw with his eyes and handled with his hands That which was from the first, the Word of Life. How will it be when none more saith “I saw'?
“Such ever was love's way: to rise, it stoops.
Since I, whom Christ's mouth taught, was bidden teach,
I went, for many years, about the world,
Saying . It was so; so I heard and saw,'
Speaking as the case asked: and men believed.
Afterward came the message to myself
In Patmos isle ; I was not bidden teach,
But simply listen, take a book and write,
Nor set down other than the given word,
With nothing left to my arbitrament
To choose or change : I wrote, and men believed.
Then, for my time grew brief, no message more,
No call to write again, I found a way,
And, reasoning from my knowledge, merely taught
Men should, for love's sake, in love's strength, believe;
Or I would pen a letter to a friend
And urge the same as friend, nor less nor more:
Friends said I reasoned rightly, and believed.
But at the last, why, I seemed left alive
Like a sea-jelly weak on Patmos strand,
To tell dry sea-beach gazers how I fared
When there was mid-sea, and the mighty things ;
Left to repeat, “I saw, I heard, I knew,
And go all over the old ground again,
With Antichrist already in the world,
And many Antichrists, who answered prompt
• Am I not Jasper as thyself art John ?
Nay, young, whereas through age thou mayest forget:
Wherefore, explain, or how shall we believe ?'
I never thought to call down fire on such,
Or, as in wonderful and early days,
Pick up the scorpion, tread the serpent dumb;
But patient stated much of the Lord's life
Forgotten or misdelivered, and let it work:
Since much that at the first, in deed and word,
Lay simply and sufficiently exposed,
Had grown (or else my soul was grown to match,
Fed through such years, familiar with such light,
Guarded and guided still to see and speak)
Of new significance and fresh result;
What first were guessed as points, I now knew stars,
And named them in the Gospel I have writ.
For men said, “It is getting long ago’:
“Where is the promise of His coming?' asked
These young ones in their strength, as loath to wait,
Of me, who, when their sires were born, was old.
I, for I loved them, answered, joyfully,
Since I was there, and helpful in my age;
And, in the main, I think such men believed.
Finally, thus endeavoring, I fell sick,
Ye brought me here, and I supposed the end,
And went to sleep with one thought that, at least,
Though the whole earth should lie in wickedness,
We had the truth, might leave the rest to God.
Yet now I wake in such decrepitude
As I had slidden down and fallen afar,
Past even the presence of my former self,
Grasping the while for stay at facts which snap,
Till I am found away from my own world,
Feeling for foothold through a blank profound,
Along with unborn people in strange lands,
Who say — I hear said or conceive they say —
* Was John at all, and did he say he saw?
Assure us, ere we ask what he might see!'
“ And how shall I assure them? Can they share - They who have flesh, a veil of youth and strength About each spirit, that needs must bide its time, Living and learning still as years assist Which wear the thickness thin, and let man see — With me who hardly am withheld at all,
But shudderingly, scarce a shred between,
Lie bare to the universal prick of light?
Is it for nothing we grow old and weak,
We whom God loves? When pain ends, gain ends too.
To me, that story — ay, that Life and Death
Of which I wrote “it was '— to me, it is ;
— Is, here and now : I apprehend naught else.
Is not God now i’ the world His power first made ?
Is not His love at issue still with sin,
Closed with and cast and conquered, crucified
Visibly when a wrong is done on earth ?
Love, wrong, and pain, what see I else around ?
Yea, and the Resurrection and Uprise
To the right hand of the throne — what is it beside,
When such truth, breaking bounds, o'erfloods my soul,
And, as I saw the sin and death, even so
See I the need yet transiency of both,
The good and glory consummated thence ?
I saw the Power; I see the Love, once weak,
Resume the Power: and in this word · I see,'
Lo, there is recognized the Spirit of both
That, moving o'er the spirit of man, unblinds
His eye and bids him look. These are, I see;
But ye, the children, His beloved ones too,
Ye need, — as I should use an optic glass