When Hope, the eagle that towered, could
No cliff beyond him in the sky,
His pinions were bent droopingly—
And homeward turned his softened eye.
’Twas sunset: When the sun will part
There comes a sullenness of heart
To him who still would look upon
The glory of the summer sun.
That soul will hate the ev’ning mist
So often lovely, and will list
To the sound of the coming darkness (known
To those whose spirits hearken) as one
Who, in a dream of night, would fly,
But cannot, from a danger nigh.
What tho’ the moon—tho’ the white moon Shed all the splendor of her noon, Her smile is chilly—and her beam, In that time of dreariness, will seem (So like you gather in your breath) A portrait taken after death. And boyhood is a summer sun Whose waning is the dreariest one— For all we live to know is known, And all we seek to keep hath flown— Let life, then, as the day-flower, fall With the noon-day beauty—which is all. I reached my home—my home no more— For all had flown who made it so. I passed from out its mossy door, And, tho’ my tread was soft and low, A voice came from the threshold stone Of one whom I had earlier known— O, I defy thee, Hell, to show On beds of fire that burn below, An humbler heart—a deeper woe.
Father, I firmly do believe—
I know—for Death who comes for me
From regions of the blest afar,
Where there is nothing to deceive,
Hath left his iron gate ajar.
And rays of truth you cannot see
Are flashing thro’ Eternity——
I do believe that Eblis hath
A snare in every human path—
Else how, when in the holy grove
I wandered of the idol, Love,—
Who daily scents his snowy wings
With incense of burnt-offerings
From the most unpolluted things,
Whose pleasant bowers are yet so riven
Above with trellised rays from Heaven
No mote may shun—no tiniest fly—
The light’ning of his eagle eye—
How was it that Ambition crept,
Unseen, amid the revels there,
Till growing bold, he laughed and leapt
In the tangles of Love’s very hair!
* * * * *
Helen, thy beauty is to me
Like those Nicean barks of yore,
That gently, o’er a perfumed sea,
The weary, wayworn wanderer bore
To his own native shore.
On desperate seas long wont to roam,
Thy hyacinth hair, thy classic face,
Thy Naiad airs have brought me home
To the glory that was Greece,
To the grandeur that was Rome.
Lo! in yon brilliant window niche,
How statue-like I see thee stand,
The agate lamp within thy hand!
Ah, Psyche, from the regions which
Are Holy Land!