The Germ eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 346 pages of information about The Germ.

  In Antwerp harbour on the Scheldt
    I stood along, a certain space
    Of night.  The mist was near my face: 
  Deep on, the flow was heard and felt. 
  The Carillon kept pause, and dwelt
    In music through the silent place.

  At Bruges, when you leave the train,
    —­A singing numbness in your ears,—­
    The Carillon’s first sound appears
  Only the inner moil.  Again
  A little minute though—­your brain
    Takes quiet, and the whole sense hears.

  John Memmeling and John Van Eyck
    Hold state at Bruges.  In sore shame
    I scanned the works that keep their name. 
  The Carillon, which then did strike
  Mine ears, was heard of theirs alike: 
    It set me closer unto them.

  I climbed at Bruges all the flight
    The Belfry has of ancient stone. 
    For leagues I saw the east wind blown: 
  The earth was grey, the sky was white. 
  I stood so near upon the height
    That my flesh felt the Carillon.

    October, 1849.


  I lay through one long afternoon,
    Vacantly plucking the grass. 
  I lay on my back, with steadfast gaze
    Watching the cloud-shapes pass;
  Until the evening’s chilly damps
    Rose from the hollows below,
    Where the cold marsh-reeds grow.

  I saw the sun sink down behind
    The high point of a mountain;
  Its last light lingered on the weeds
    That choked a shattered fountain,
  Where lay a rotting bird, whose plumes
    Had beat the air in soaring. 
    On these things I was poring:—­

  The sun seemed like my sense of life,
    Now weak, that was so strong;
  The fountain—­that continual pulse
    Which throbbed with human song: 
  The bird lay dead as that wild hope
    Which nerved my thoughts when young. 
    These symbols had a tongue,

  And told the dreary lengths of years
    I must drag my weight with me;
  Or be like a mastless ship stuck fast
    On a deep, stagnant sea. 
  A man on a dangerous height alone,
    If suddenly struck blind,
    Will never his home path find.

  When divers plunge for ocean’s pearls,
    And chance to strike a rock,
  Who plunged with greatest force below
    Receives the heaviest shock. 
  With nostrils wide and breath drawn in,
    I rushed resolved on the race;
    Then, stumbling, fell in the chase.

  Yet with time’s cycles forests swell
    Where stretched a desert plain: 
  Time’s cycles make the mountains rise
    Where heaved the restless main: 
  On swamps where moped the lonely stork,
    In the silent lapse of time
    Stands a city in its prime.

  I thought:  then saw the broadening shade
    Grow slowly over the mound,
  That reached with one long level slope
    Down to a rich vineyard ground: 
  The air about lay still and hushed,
    As if in serious thought: 
    But I scarcely heeded aught,

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The Germ from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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