When Life’s pulse beat strong and high
Shone the world in gold and blue!
Canopied with turquoise sky
Summer passed superbly by,
Bluest midnight cupped the dew
Golden morn might sparkle through!
Now that life would rest again
Soft she lies in gold and brown,
Brown the fields and gold the grain,
Brown the little pools of rain,
Gold the leaves that falter down
To brown pavements in the town.
My soul has left its tent of clay
And seeks from star to star,
’Mid flaming worlds that are to be,
And fruitful worlds that are,
The Voice which spake and said “Live on!”
(When Death said, “You may die”)
And sent my spirit wandering
The stairway of the sky.
Still must I seek what on the earth
I sought as fruitlessly—
The world I knew, the heaven I scorned
Lost in infinity:
Alone, and on the ageless breath
Of cosmic whirlwinds spun,
I hurtle through the outer dark
Toward some fantastic sun!—
O God! how happy is the leaf,
A sweet and soulless thing,
Dying to live but in the green
Of yet another Spring—
These heights, these depths, these flaming worlds,
This stairway of the sky
I’d give, had no Voice said “Live on!”
When Death said, “You may die.”
The breeze blows out from the land and it seeks the
O and O! that my sail were set and away—
Fast and free on its wings would my sailing be
To the west: to the Tir Nan Og, where the blessed stay!
The darkness stirs, it awakes, it outspreads its arms,
O and O! and the birds in their nests are still,
The red-browed hill bleats low with the lamb’s alarms,
And a sound of singing comes from the slipping rill.
My soul is awake alone, all alone in the earth,
O and O! and around is the lonely night.
As with the sun, would my soul go forth to its birth—
O’er the darkling sea, to the west—to the light, to the light!
Do they say, “Be content with the land of the
O and O! there is friendship here, there is song.”
But they smile to your face, when you turn they stammer and rail
And the song of the singer has tears and is over long!
A call comes out of the west and it calls a name,
O and O! it is soft, it is far, it is low—
Sweet, so sweet that it touches my soul with a flame
That burns the heart from my breast with the wish to go!
(Translated from the Celtic.)
’Twas a little man in green,
And he sat upon a stone;
And he sat there all alone,
“One and two,” so whispered he.
(’Twas an ancient man and hoar)
“One and two,” and then no more—