And dazed in their wake,
Drink day that is born of a star.
I murmured, “Remoteness and greatness, how deep you are set,
How afar in the rim of the whole;
You know nothing of me, nor of man, nor of earth, O, nor yet
Of our light-bearer,—drawing the marvellous moons as they roll,
Of our regent, the sun.”
I look on you trembling, and think, in the dark with my soul,
“How small is our place ’mid the kingdoms and nations of God:
These are greater than we, every one.”
And there falls a great fear, and a dread cometh over, that cries,
“O my hope! Is there any mistake?
Did He speak? Did I hear? Did I listen aright, if He spake?
Did I answer Him duly? For surely I now am awake,
If never I woke until now.”
And a light, baffling wind, that leads nowhither, plays on my brow.
As a sleep, I must think on my day, of my path as untrod,
Or trodden in dreams, in a dreamland whose coasts are a doubt;
Whose countries recede from my thoughts, as they grope round about,
And vanish, and tell me not how.
Be kind to our darkness, O Fashioner, dwelling in light,
And feeding the lamps of the sky;
Look down upon this one, and let it be sweet in Thy sight,
I pray Thee, to-night.
O watch whom Thou madest to dwell on its soil, Thou Most High!
For this is a world full of sorrow (there may be but one);
Keep watch o’er its dust, else Thy children for aye are undone,
For this is a world where we die.
With that, a still voice in my spirit that moved and
(There fell a great calm while it spake,)
I had heard it erewhile, but the noises of life are so loud,
That sometimes it dies in the cry of the street and the crowd:
To the simple it cometh,—the child, or asleep, or awake,
And they know not from whence; of its nature the wise never learned
By his wisdom; its secret the worker ne’er earned
By his toil; and the rich among men never bought with his gold;
Nor the times of its visiting monarchs controlled,
Nor the jester put down with his jeers
(For it moves where it will), nor its season the aged discerned
By thought, in the ripeness of years.
O elder than reason, and stronger than will!
A voice, when the dark world is still:
Whence cometh it? Father Immortal, thou knowest! and we,—
We are sure of that witness, that sense which is sent us of Thee;
For it moves, and it yearns in its fellowship mighty and dread,
And let down to our hearts it is touched by the tears that we shed;
It is more than all meanings, and over all strife;
On its tongue are the laws of our life,
And it counts up the times of the dead.