The Death-Wake eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 90 pages of information about The Death-Wake.



    A pale and broken Iris in the mirror
      Of a gray cloud,—­as gray as death,
      Slow sailing in the breath
    Of thunder!  Like a child, that lies in terror
      Through the dark night, an Iris fair
      Trembled midway in air. 
    The blending of its elfin hues
      Was as the pure enamel on
    The early morning dews;
      And gloriously they shone,
    Waving everyone his wing,
    Like a young aerial thing! 
      That Iris came
    Over the shells of gold, beside
    The blue and waveless tide;
      Its girdle, of resplendent flame,
    Met shore and sea, afar,
    Like angel that shall stand
    On flood and land,
    Crown’d with a meteor star.

    The sea-bird, from her snowy stone,
    Beheld it floating on,
      Like a bride that bent her way
    To the altar, standing lone,
      In some cathedral gray. 
      The melancholy wave
      Started at the cry she gave,
    Hailing the lovely child
      Of the immortal sun,—­
      A tender and a tearful one,
    Bounding away, with footsteps wild!

    Old Neptune on his silver bed
      The dazzling image threw;
      It laid like sunbeam on the dew,
    Its young tress-waving head. 
      The god upon the shadow gazed,
      And silently upraised
    A gentle wave, that came and kiss’d
    Fair Iris in her holy rest. 
      Her pearly brow grew pale: 
    It felt the sinful fire,
    And from her queenly tiar
      She drew the veil. 
    The sun-wing’d steeds her sacred car
    Wheel’d to her throne of star.


    Spirit! in deathless halo zoned,
    A chain of stars with wings of diamond,—­
    Is music blended into thee
    With holy light and immortality? 
      For, as thy shape of glory swept
    Through seas of darkness, magic breathings fell
      Around it, like the notes that slept
    In the wild caverns of a silver shell.

    Thou camest, as a lightning spring
    Through chasms of horrid cloud, on scathless wing;
    Old Chaos round him, like a tiar,
    Swathed the long rush of immaterial fire;
      As thou, descending from afar,
    Wast canopied with living arch of light,
      Pale pillars of immortal star,
    Burst through the curtains of the moonless night.

    Phantom of wonder! over thee,
    Trembles the shadow of the Deity;
    For face to face, on lifted throne,
    Thou gazest to the glory-shrouded One,
      Where highest in the azure height
    Of universe, eternally he turns
      Myriads of worlds; with blaze of light
    Filling the hollow of their golden urns.

Project Gutenberg
The Death-Wake from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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