To childhood once again. We must regain the lost state. But it is to the giant and spiritual childhood of the young immortals we must return, when into their clear and translucent souls first fell the rays of the father-beings. The men of old were intimates of wind and wave and playmates of many a brightness long since forgotten. The rapture of the fire was their rest; their outgoing was still consciously through universal being. By darkened images we may figure something vaguely akin, as when in rare moments under the stars the big dreamy heart of childhood is pervaded with quiet and brimmed full with love. Dear children of the world so tired today— so weary seeking after the light. Would you recover strength and immortal vigor? Not one star alone, your star, shall shed its happy light upon you, but the All you must adore. Something intimate, secret, unspeakable, akin to thee will emerge silently, insensibly, and ally itself with thee as thou gatherest thyself from the four quarters of the earth. We shall go back to the world of the dawn, but to a brighter light than that which opened up this wondrous story of the cycles. The forms of elder years will reappear in our vision, the father-beings once again. So we shall grow at home amid these grandeurs, and with that All-Presence about us may cry in our hearts, “At last is our meeting, Immortal. Oh, starry one, now is our rest!”
Brothers weary, come away;
We will quench the heart’s desire
Past the gateways of the day
In the rapture of the fire.
—October 15, 1895
While our vision, backward cast,
Ranged the everliving past,
Through a haze of misty things—
Luminous with quiverings
Musical as starry chimes—
Rose a hero of old times,
In whose breast the magic powers
Slumbering from primeval hours,
Woke at the enchantment wild
Of Aed Abrait’s lovely child;
Still for all her Druid learning
With the wild-bird heart, whose yearning
Blinded at his strength and beauty,
Clung to love and laughed at duty.
Warrior chief, and mystic maid,
Through your stumbling footsteps strayed,
This at least in part atones—
Jewels were your stumbling-stones!
I. The Birds of Angus
The birds were a winging rapture in the twilight. White wings, grey wings, brown wings, fluttered around and over the pine trees that crowned the grassy dun. The highest wings flashed with a golden light. At the sound of voices they vanished.
“How then shall we go to the plains of Murthemney? We ought not to be known. Shall we go invisibly, or in other forms? We must also fly as swiftly as the birds go.”
“Fly! yes, yes, we shall—fly as the birds. But we shall choose fairer forms than these. I know where the Birds of Angus flock. Come, Liban, come!”