O pause between the sobs of cares!
O thought within all thought that is;
Trance between laughters unawares!
Thou art the form of melodies,
And thou the ecstasy of prayers.
Rorate Coeli desuper, et nubes pluant Justum. Aperiatur Terra, et germinet Salvatorem.
No sudden thing of glory and fear
Was the Lord’s coming; but the dear
Slow Nature’s days followed each other
To form the Saviour from his Mother
—One of the children of the year.
The earth, the rain, received the trust,
—The sun and dews, to frame the Just.
He drew his daily life from these,
According to his own decrees
Who makes man from the fertile dust.
Sweet summer and the winter wild,
These brought him forth, the Undefiled.
The happy Springs renewed again
His daily bread, the growing grain,
The food and raiment of the Child.
Beloved, thou art like a tune that idle fingers
Play on a window-pane.
The time is there, the form of music lingers;
But O thou sweetest strain,
Where is thy soul? Thou liest i’ the wind and rain.
Even as to him who plays that idle air,
It seems a melody,
For his own soul is full of it, so, my Fair,
Dead, thou dost live in me,
And all this lonely soul is full of thee.
Thou song of songs!—not music as before
Unto the outward ear;
My spirit sings thee inly evermore,
Thy falls with tear on tear.
I fail for thee, thou art too sweet, too dear.
Thou silent song, thou ever voiceless rhyme,
Is there no pulse to move thee,
At windy dawn, with a wild heart beating time,
And falling tears above thee,
O music stifled from the ears that love thee?
Oh, for a strain of thee from outer air!
Soul wearies soul, I find.
Of thee, thee, thee, I am mournfully aware,
—Contained in one poor mind,
Who wert in tune and time to every wind.
Poor grave, poor lost beloved! but I burn
For some more vast To be.
As he that played that secret tune may turn
And strike it on a lyre triumphantly,
I wait some future, all a lyre for thee.
Your own fair youth, you care so little for it,
Smiling towards Heaven, you would not stay the advances
Of time and change upon your happiest fancies.
I keep your golden hour, and will restore it.
If ever, in time to come, you would explore it—
Your old self whose thoughts went like last year’s pansies,
Look unto me; no mirror keeps its glances;
In my unfailing praises now I store it.
To keep all joys of yours from Time’s estranging,
I shall be then a treasury where your gay,
Happy, and pensive past for ever is.