« ПретходнаНастави »
The air grew suddenly, and no man knew
Whether perchance his silent neighbour saw The dreadful thing which all were sure would rise To scare the strained lids wider from their eyes,
The incense trembled as it upward sent
Its slow, uncertain thread of wandering blue, As 'twere the only living element
In all the church so deep the stillness grew; It seemed one might have heard it, as it went,
Give out an audible rustle, curling through The midnight silence of that awe-struck air, More hushed than death, though so much life was there.
XXXVII Nothing they saw,
but a low voice was heard Threading the ominous silence of that fear, Gentle and terrorless, as if a bird,
Wakened by some volcano's glare, should chcer
In the cathedral's farthest arch seemed near,
O Rest, to weary hearts thou art most dear!
O Silence, after life's bewildering din
Days of our age thou comest, or we win
Linger I yet, once free to enter in
*Think not in death my love could ever cease;
If thou wast false, more need there is for me
If 'twere unvisited with dreams of thee:
Save that in Heaven I must erer be
• This little spirit with imploring eyes
Wanders alone the dreary wild of space; The shadow of his pain for ever lies
Upon my soul in this new dwelling-place
His loneliness makes me in Paradise
More lonely, and, unless I see his face, Even here for grief could I lie down and die, Save for my curse of immortality.
XLI • World after world he sees around him swim
Crowded with happy souls, that take no heed Of the sad eyes that from the night's faint rim
Gaze sick with longing on them as they speed With golden gates, that only shut out him ;
And shapes sometimes from Hell's abysses freed Flap darkly by him, with enormous sweep Of wings that roughen wide the pitchy deep.
'I am a mother,--spirits do not shake
This much of earth from them,--and I must pine Till I can feel his little hands, and take
His weary head upon this heart of mine;
Would I this solitude of bliss resign,
•I strove to hush my soul, and would not speak
At first, for thy dear sake; a woman's love
And by its weakness overcomes; I strore
But still in the abyss my soul would rore,
"I sit and weep while blessed spirits sing;
I can but long and pine the while they praise, And, leaning o'er the wall of Heaven, I fling
My voice to where I deem my infant strays, Like a robbed bird that cries in vain to bring
Her nestlings back beneath her wings' embrace But still he answers not, and I but know That Heaven and earth are both alike in woe.'
Then the pale priests, with ceremony due,
Baptized the child within its dreadful tomb Beneath that mother's heart, whose instinct true
Star-like had battled down the triple gloom
Of sorrow, love, and death: young maidens, too,
Strewed the pale corpse with many a milkwhite bloom, And parted the bright hair, and on the breast Crossed the unconscious hands in sign of rest.
Some said, that, when the priest had sprinkled o'er
The consecrated drops, they seemed to hear A sigh, as of some heart from travail sore
Released, and then two voices singing clear, Misereatur Deus, more and more
Fading far upward, and their ghastly fear Fell from them with that sound, as bodies fall From souls upspringing to celestial hall.
ONE after one the stars have risen and set,
Their fixed awe went through my brain like ice;
Thy hated nar.e is tossed once more in scorn From off my lips, for I will tell thy doom. And are these tears ? Nay, do not triumph, Jove ! They are wrung from me but by the agonies Of prophecy, like those sparse drops which fall From clouds in travail with the lightning, when The great wave of the storm high-curled and black Rolls steadily onward to its thunderous break. Why art thou made a god of, thou poor type Of anger, and revenge, and cun force ? True Power was never born of brutish Strength, Nor sweet Truth suckled at the shaggy dugs Of that old she-wolf. Are thy thunderbolts, That quell the darkness for a space, so strong As the prevailing patience of meek Light, Who, with the invincible tenderness of peace, Wins it to be a portion of herself? Why art thou made a god of, thou, who hast The never-sleeping terror at thy heart, That birthright of all tyrants, worse to bear Than this thy ravening bird on which I smile ? Thou swear'st to free me, if I will unfold What kind of doom it is whose omen flits Across thy heart, as o'er a troop of doves The fearful shadow of the kite. What need To know that truth whose knowledge cannot save ? Evil its errand hath, as well as Good;
When thine is finished, thou art known no more:
Yes, I am still Prometheus, wiser grown By years of solitude,--that holds apart The past and future, giving the soul room To search into itself, -and long commune With this eternal silence;—more a god, In my long-suffering and strength to meet With equal front the direst shafts of fate, Than thou in thy faint-hearted despotism, Girt with thy baby-toys of force and wrath. Yes, I am that Prometheus who brought down The light to man, which thou, in selfish fear, Hadst to thyself usurped, --his by sole right, For Man hath right to all save Tyranny, And which shall free him yet from thy frail throne. Tyrants are but the spawn of Ignorance, Begotten by the slaves they trample on, Who, could they win a glimmer of the light, And see that Tyranny is always weakness, Or Fear with its own bosom ill at ease, Would laugh away in scorn the sand-wove chain Which their own blindness feigned for adamant. Wrong ever builds on quicksands, but the Right To the firm centre lays its moveless base. The tyrant trembles, if the air but stirs The innocent ringlets of a child's free hair, And crouches, when the thought of some great spirit, With world-wide murmur, like a rising gale,