Sometimes from that resplendent sheen
A new light gleams across the void,
And, awe-struck, we conceive the scene
Of two vast solar orbs destroyed;
By fearful impact changed again,
Unnumbered miles beyond our ken,
To leagues of blazing hydrogen.
Before such marvels, what are we
To plume ourselves in foolish pride?
Within that dim immensity
How many suns and earths have died!
The tiny mote on which we stand,
However fair and finely planned,
Is nothing but a grain of sand.
To-day, as through the ages gone,
By law impelled, by law restrained,
Suns, planets, systems,—all sweep on
Toward bourns still dark and unexplained;
Some bright with youth, some dull with age,
Their varied colors well presage
Their distance from the final stage.
For all are doomed at last to die!
On heaven’s blue sea each isle of fire,
Of all that now enchant the eye,
Must finally in gloom expire;
Though all may still roll on, unseen,
As blackened cinders, while between
Dark, lifeless planets intervene.
And then? The mind sinks back in dread!
Such burnt-out worlds may well appal,
If they must still continue dead,
And universal night end all;
But, one by one, as speed shall fail,
Each may some rival mass assail,
Till nebulas again prevail.
But not for long! A refluent spurge
Shall that destructive course reverse,
And cause those sun-mists to converge
To mould another universe;
Again shall constellations rise,
And suns and planets light the skies,
And man regain his paradise.
For thus with rhythmic sweep sublime
Swings Chaos on to Cosmos; then
In ages, measureless by time,
Rolls Cosmos back to mist again,
In one stupendous ebb and flow,
As aeons come and aeons go,
With all their freight of weal and woe.
Hard, cruel, hopeless? It may be.
We know too little to decide;
Yet hope that o’er that starlit sea
Some steadfast, God-directed tide
Will one day bear us to a shore,
Where we shall find our lost once more,
And what was here unknown, adore.
Charming bit of Paradise,
Where the palm and snow are blended,
Where life’s joys seem never ended,
Where the purl of limpid streams
Haunts the traveller’s deepest dreams;
Girt by miles of terraced vines,
Birthplace of the purest wines,
Sheltered by imposing mountains,
Musical from countless fountains,
Bathed in sunshine, bright with flowers,
Studded with old Roman towers,
Castles, convents, shrines and walls,
Whose strange history enthralls,—
Jewel of fair South Tyrol,
Thou hast won my heart and soul!