Below, and thought ere morn to die, in crush
And tumult of the falling citadel.
And pondering of my fate—the broken storm
Sobbing its life away—I was aware
There grew between me and the quieting skies
A face and form I knew,—not as in dreams,
The sad dishevelled loveliness of earth,
But lighter than the thin air where she swayed,—
Gold hair flame-fluttered, eyes and mouth aglow
With lambent light of spiritual joy.
With sweet command she beckoned me away
And led me vaguely dreaming, till I saw
Where the wild flood in sudden fury had burst
A passage through the rocks: and thence I led
My host unharmed, following her luminous eyes,
Until the East was gray, and with a smile
Wooing me heavenward still she passed away
Into the rosy trouble of the dawn.
And I believe my love is shrived in heaven,
And I believe that I shall soon be free.
For ever, as I journey on, to me
Waking or sleeping come faint whisperings
And fancies not of earth, as if the gates
Of near eternity stood for me ajar,
And ghostly gales come blowing o’er my soul
Fraught with the amaranth odors of the skies.
I go to join the Lion-Heart at Acre,
And there, after due homage to my liege,
And after patient penance of the church,
And after final devoir in the fight,
If that my God be gracious, I shall die.
And so I pray—Lord pardon if I sin!—
That I may lose in death’s imbittered wave,
The stain of sinful loving, and may find
In glory again the love I lost below,
With all of fair and bright and unattained,
Beautiful in the cherishing smile of God,
By the glad waters of the River of Life!
Night hangs above the valley; dies the day
In peace, casting his last glance on my cross,
And warns me to my prayers. Ave Maria!
Mother of God! the evening fades
On wave and hill and lea,
And in the twilight’s deepening shades
We lift our souls to thee!
In passion’s stress—the battles strife,
The desert’s lurking harms,
Maid-Mother of the Lord of Life
Protect thy men-at-arms!
The Way to Heaven
From the German.
One day the Sultan, grand and grim,
Ordered the Mufti brought to him.
“Now let thy wisdom solve for me
The question I shall put to thee.
“The different tribes beneath my sway
Four several sects of priests obey;
Now tell me which of all the four
Is on the path to Heaven’s door.”
The Sultan spake, and then was dumb.
The Mufti looked about the room,
And straight made answer to his lord.
Fearing the bowstring at each word:
“Thou, godlike in thy lofty birth,
Who art our Allah upon earth,
Illume me with thy favoring ray,
And I will answer as I may.