No, tis but an eye-made sight,
In my brain a fancied gleam;
Or a thousand things as white,
Set in darkness, well might seem.
There it wavers, shines, is gone;
What it is I cannot tell;
When the morning star hath shone,
I shall see and know it well.
Onward, onward through the night!
Matters it I cannot see?
I am moving in a might,
Dwelling in the dark and me.
Up or down, or here or there,
I can never be alone;
My own being tells me where
God is as the Father known.
Joy! O joy! the Eastern sea
Answers to the Eastern sky;
Wide and featured gloriously
With swift billows bursting high.
Nearer, nearer, oh! the sheen
On a thousand waves at once!
Oh! the changing crowding green!
Oh my beating heart’s response!
Down rejoicing to the strand,
Where the sea-waves shore-ward lean,
Curve their graceful heads, and stand
Gleaming with ethereal green,
Then in foam fall heavily—
This is what I saw at night!
Lo, a boat! I’ll forth on thee,
Dancing-floor for my delight.
From the bay, wind-winged, we glance;
Sea-winds seize me by the hair!
What a terrible expanse!
How the ocean tumbles there!
I am helpless here afloat,
For the wild waves know not me;
Gladly would I change my boat
For the snow wings of the sea!
Look below. Each watery whirl
Cast in beauty’s living mould!
Look above! Each feathery curl
Faintly tinged with morning gold!—
Oh, I tremble with the gush
Of an everlasting youth!
Love and fear together rush:
I am free in God, the Truth!
We doubt the word that tells us: Ask,
And ye shall have your prayer;
We turn our thoughts as to a task,
With will constrained and rare.
And yet we have; these scanty prayers
Yield gold without alloy:
O God! but he that trusts and dares
Must have a boundless joy.
When round the earth the Father’s hands
Have gently drawn the dark;
Sent off the sun to fresher lands,
And curtained in the lark;
’Tis sweet, all tired with glowing day,
To fade with faded light;
To lie once more, the old weary way,
Upfolded in the night.
A mother o’er the couch may bend,
And rose-leaf kisses heap:
In soothing dreams with sleep they blend,
Till even in dreams we sleep.
And, if we wake while night is dumb,
’Tis sweet to turn and say,
It is an hour ere dawning come,
And I will sleep till day.
There is a dearer, warmer bed,
Where one all day may lie,
Earth’s bosom pillowing the head,
And let the world go by.
Instead of mother’s love-lit eyes,
The church’s storied pane,
All blank beneath cold starry skies,
Or sounding in the rain.