How we long to sift,
That yellow drift!
Rivers! Rivers! cease your goings!
Sand-bars! rise, and stay the tide!
’Till we’ve gained the golden flowing;
And in the golden haven ride!
Hail! voyagers, hail!
Whence e’er ye come, where’er ye rove,
No calmer strand,
No sweeter land,
Will e’er ye view, than the Land of Love!
To these, our shores, soft gales invite:
The palm plumes wave,
The billows lave,
And hither point fix’d stars of light!
Think not our groves wide brood with gloom;
In this, our isle,
Bright flowers smile:
Full urns, rose-heaped, these valleys bloom.
Be not deceived; renounce vain things;
Ye may not find
A tranquil mind,
Though hence ye sail with swiftest wings.
Time flies full fast; life soon is o’er;
And ye may mourn,
That hither borne,
Ye left behind our pleasant shore.
Stay, Death, Not mine the Christus-wand
Wherewith to charge thee and command:
I plead. Most gently hold the hand
Of her thou leadest far away;
Fear thou to let her naked feet
Tread ashes—but let mosses sweet
Her footing tempt, where’er ye stray.
Shun Orcus; win the moonlit land
Belulled—the silent meadows lone,
Where never any leaf is blown
From lily-stem in Azrael’s hand.
There, till her love rejoin her lowly
(Pensive, a shade, but all her own)
On honey feed her, wild and holy;
Or trance her with thy choicest charm.
And if, ere yet the lover’s free,
Some added dusk thy rule decree—
That shadow only let it be
Thrown in the moon-glade by the palm.
EPILOGUE If Luther’s day expand to Darwin’s year, Shall that exclude the hope—foreclose the fear?
Unmoved by all the claims our times avow,
The ancient Sphinx still keeps the porch of
And comes Despair, whom not her calm may
And coldly on that adamantine brow
Scrawls undeterred his bitter pasquinade.
But Faith (who from the scrawl indignant
With blood warm oozing from her wounded
Inscribes even on her shards of broken urns
The sign o’ the cross—the spirit above the dust!
Yea, ape and angel, strife and old debate—
The harps of heaven and dreary gongs of hell;
Science the feud can only aggravate—
No umpire she betwixt the chimes and knell:
The running battle of the star and clod
Shall run forever—if there be no God.