Full many a thought that thrills my breast
Is fruit resulting from a seed
Sown elsewhere,—on my soul impressed
By many an arduous deed;
Full many a fetter which hath lamed
My struggling spirit’s upward flight
Was once by that same spirit framed,
When further from the Light;
With justice, therefore, comes the pain
That o’er the tortured world extends;
And hopeful is the lessening stain,
As each life-cycle ends.
No changeless, endless states await
The good and evil souls set free;
Each grave is a successive gate
Too long this mighty truth hath slept
Among the darkened souls of men,—
“Ye cannot see God’s face, except
Ye shall be born again.”
The God-like Christs and Buddhas yearn,
However high their spirits’ stage,
For man’s salvation to return,
As Saviour or as Sage.
On our benighted, groping minds
Their noble precepts, star-like, shine;
Each soul, that wisely seeks them, finds
The truths that are divine.
Misunderstood and vilified,
Their aims and motives scarcely known,
How many of these Saints have died,
Rejected by their own!
Yet, though their followers miss the way,
In spite of precept and of prayer,
And lead unnumbered souls astray,
Committed to their care,
Upon the lofty spirit-plane,
Where all lies open to their sight,
The Masters know that not in vain
They left the Hills of Light.
O pallid spectre of the midnight skies,
Whose phantom features in the dome of Night
Elude the keenest gaze of wistful eyes,
Till amplest lenses aid the failing sight;
On heaven’s blue sea the farthest isle of fire,
From thee, whose glories it would fain admire,
Must vision, baffled, in despair retire!
What art thou, ghostly visitant of flame?
Wouldst thou ’neath closer scrutiny resolve
In myriad suns that constellations frame,
Around which life-blest satellites revolve,
Like those unnumbered orbs which nightly creep
In dim procession o’er the azure steep,
As white-winged caravans the desert sweep?
Or art thou still an incandescent mass,
Acquiring form as hostile forces urge,
Through whose vast length continuous lightnings pass,
As to and fro its fiery billows surge?
Whose glowing atoms, whirled in ceaseless strife,
Where now chaotic anarchy is rife,
Shall yet become the fair abodes of life?
We know not; for the faint, exhausted rays
Which hither on Light’s winged coursers come
From fires which ages since first lit their blaze,
One instant gleam, then perish, spent and dumb;
How sad the thought that, howsoe’er we yearn
Of life on yonder glittering orbs to learn,
We read no message, and could none return!