Why comest thou, with feelings
On thy birth-shore, the long unenter’d ground?
To visit where thy being first,
Through the pale shell of embryo nothing, burst?
Or, on celestial errand bent,
To win to faith a sin enraptured son,
And point the angel lineament
Of mercy on a cross,—the Bleeding One?
Spirit! I breathe no
The altars where thou bendest never knew
Sigh, tear, or sorrow, and the night
No chariot drives behind the wheel of light;
Where every seraph is a sun,
And every soul an everlasting star.—
Go to thy home, thou peerless one!
Where glory and the Great Immortal are!
HER, A STATUE
Her life is in the marble!
yet a fall
Of sleep lies on the heart’s fair arsenal,
Like new shower’d snow. You hear no whisper through
Those love-divided lips; no pearly dew
Trembles on her pale orbs, that seem to be
Bent on a dream of immortality!
She sleeps: her life
is sleep,—a holy rest!
Like that of wing-borne cloud, that, in the west
Laves his aerial image, till afar
The sunlight leaves him, melting into star.
Did Phidias from her brow the veil remove,
Uncurtaining the peerless queen of love?
The fluent stone in marble waves recoil’d,
Touch’d by his hand, and left the wondrous child,
A Venus of the foam! How softly fair
The dove-like passion on the sacred air
Floats round her, nesting in her wreathed hair,
That tells, though shadeless, of its auburn hue,
Bathed in a hoar of diamond-dropping dew!
this not one of eld,
That Chaos on his boundless bosom held,
Till Earth came forward in a rush of storm,
Closing his ribs upon her wingless form?
How beautiful!—The very lips do speak
Of love, and bid us worship: the pale cheek
Seems blushing through the marble—through the snow!
And the undrap’ried bosom feels a flow
Of fever on its brightness; every vein
At the blue pulse swells softly, like a chain
Of gentle hills. I would not fling a wreath
Of jewels on that brow, to flash beneath
Those queenly tresses; for itself is more
Than sea-born pearl of some Elysian shore!
Such, with a heart like woman!
I would cast
Life at her foot, and, as she glided past,
Would bid her trample on the slavish thing—
Tell her, I’d rather feel me withering
Under her step, than be unknown for aye:
And, when her pride had crush’d me, she might see
A love-wing’d spirit glide in glory by
Striking the tent of its mortality!
TO A STORM-STAID BIRD
Trembler! a month is past,
Wert singing on the thorn,
And shaking dew-drops from the bough
In the golden haze of morn!