Sonnet. The Sun And Stream
As some dark stream within a cavern's breast,
Flows murmuring, moaning for the distant sun,
So ere I met thee, murmuring its unrest,
Did my life's current coldly, darkly run.
And as that stream, beneath the sun's full gaze,
Its separate course and life no more maintains,
But now absorbed, transfused far o'er the plains,
It floats, etherealized in those warm rays;
So in the sunlight of thy fervid love,
My heart, so long to earth's dark channels given,
Now soars, all pain, all doubt, all ill above,
And breathes the ether of the upper heaven:
So thy high spirit holds and governs mine;
So is my life, my being, lost in thine!
Books For The People
'Let there be light.'
Light to the darkened mind
Bear, like the sun, the world's wide circle round,
Bright messengers that speak without a sound!
Sight on the spirit blind
Shall fall whene'er ye pass; your living ray
Shall change the night of ages into day: -
God speed ye on your way!
In closet and in hall,
Too long alone your message hath been spoken:
The spell of gold that bound ye there is broken;
Go forth and shine on all;
The world's inheritance, the legacy
Bequeathed by Genius to the race are ye;
Be like the sunlight, free!
A mighty power ye wield!
Ye wake grim centuries from their deep repose,
And bid their hoarded treasuries unclose,
The spoils of time to yield.
Ye hold the gift of immortality;
Bard, sage, and seer, whose fame shall never die,
Live through your ministry.
Noiseless upon your path,
Freighted with lore, romance, and song, ye speed,
Moving the world, in custom and in creed,
Waking its love or wrath.
Tyrants, that blench not on the battle-plain,
Quail at your silent coming, and in vain
Would bind the riven chain.
Shrines, that embalm great souls!
Where yet the illustrious dead high converse hold,
As gods spake through their oracles of old;
Upon your mystic scrolls,
There lives a spell to guide our destiny;
The fire by night, the pillared cloud by day,
Upon our upward way.
The Earth To The Sun
Oh Sun! oh glorious Sun!
The spell of winter binds me strong and dread
In the dark sleep, the coldness of the dead;
And song and beauty from thy haunts are gone.
The skies above me lower,
The frozen tempests beat upon my breast,
That wearily by its snow-shroud is prest;
And the wild winds rave o'er me in mad power.
At thine averted gaze,
Benumbed and desolate, I droop and die:
Life of my life! Lord of my destiny!
Shine on me with thy life-imparting rays.
Look from thy radiant throne,
And o'er this waste, drear and unlovely now,
Young summer's gorgeous loveliness shall glow,
And beauty clasp me in her magic zone.
Fair landscapes shall arise,
O'er which a sky of tenderest blue shall bend,
Where forest, hill, and vale, and stream shall blend
In beauty like a dream of Paradise.
And in thy living beams
The flowers shall wake, and every dewy cup
Shall send the homage of its perfume up,
And give thy brightness back in rosy gleams.
A full deep symphony,
The voice of streams, the air's melodious sighs,
Songs from all living things shall mingling rise
In one eternal hymn of love to thee.
* * * * * *
In vain, oh Earth, in vain; -
What heeds the Sun, if light or shadow rest
Upon the bosom in his smile so blest,
Or if thou perish in thine icy chain.
If from the shining host,
Like the lost Pleiad, thou wert stricken down,
He would not miss thee from his starry crown -
He would not mark one ray of brightness lost.
Then for the song and bloom,
The untold wealth of beauty, buried deep
Within thy frozen heart, in death-like sleep,
Oh! mourn thou not within thy conscious tomb.
To The Sun
Thou glorious lamp of Space! Thou that dost flood
The void of heaven with brightness! in thy glow
Unnumbered worlds, age after age, have trod
In their appointed paths, and yet the flow
Of brightness hath not ebbed. - Before thy brow
The stars still veil themselves; thy burning glance
Is all unquenched, undimmed, unchanged e'en now,
As when the finger of Omnipotence
Pointed to thee thy throne amid the vast expanse.
Yes, all unchanged. - As on that morn when rang
The shout of joy as forth thy rays were spread,
While all the morning stars together sang,
So thou art now. The morning stars have fled,
The towering hill with age has bowed its head,
The sea has changed its home with the dry land,
The earth has gathered in her countless dead,
Again and yet again - but thou dost stand,
Exhaustless and unmoved, upheld by God's own hand.
Thy beams rest not alone where monarchs dwell,
They linger round the cottage of the poor,
And pierce the grating of the captive's cell;
And when thou lookest on the lowliest flower
That lifts its head to thee for one short hour,
Thy glances just as mildly, gently burn
As when thou gazest on the loftiest tower,
Or on the countless worlds that round thee turn.
Oh! what a lesson here might human frailty learn.
Thou look'st upon the earth, and in thy rays
She brings her increase forth. Thine early light
Unfolds the bud, and thy intenser gaze
The blushing summer flower. Thou takest thy flight
And o'er the earth then walks the starry night;
Thou guidest the waters of the unquiet main,
Whose billows foam and tremble in their might -
For o'er the winds of heaven thou hold'st thy reign,
From the soft, flower-kissed breeze to the wild hurricane.
When I behold thy bright, alchemic glance
A flood of gold-light o'er the landscape throw,
And every cloud that decks the blue expanse,
Beneath thy gaze with deeping blushes glow;
Or when I see thee tint the heavenly bow,
Or in thy gaze the icebound waters melt,
As spring returns before thy burning brow,
I wonder not that Persia's children knelt,
And deemed thou was the Heaven wherein the Eternal dwelt.
Thou isle of brightness 'mid an azure sea!
As oft I gaze on thee at closing day,
I feel my spirit fluttering to be free, -
To cast its bonds of ignorance away,
And learn thy mysteries; and then I say,
Peace, restless spirit! - yet a little time
And your frail prison will have changed to clay,
And thou shalt stand before the throne of Him
To whose veiled brow of light this glorious lamp is dim!
Darkness sat brooding o'er the infant world,
That in chaotic gloom and silence lay,
Till from the throne of Light the sun was hurled;
Then that eternal night was changed to day,
And his effulgent, life-imparting ray,
O'er the wide waste of waters moved along:
The land and sea divided, and away
From out their depths young Nature startled sprung,
And in the light rejoiced till the blue heavens rung.
Even thus, oh! Science, hath thy glorious light
Rolled the dark clouds of Ignorance away,
Dispelled the darkness of a deeper night,
Than that which once o'er chaos thickly lay -
The darkness of the mind; and thy mid-day
Is still far distant - yet nor time nor space
Is unillumined with thy heavenly ray:
The clouds are rent that shrouded Nature's face,
And now she stands unveiled in all her loveliness.
Onward thou movest on thy tireless wing,
Through air and sea to Earth's remotest shore,
And givest a name to every living thing,
The beast, the bird, the insect or the flower,
The jewel of the mine, the sparkling ore.
Thou knowest the mysteries of the unseen air;
Thou lightest the caverns of the deep, whose floor
Yields to thy hand its pearls and treasures rare,
And every tinted shell that breathes its music there.
Now on the bosom of the swelling flood
That clasps the earth, and by whose wave-worn side
In ages past our trembling fathers stood,
Nor dared to breast the deep and trackless tide,
Our floating palaces majestic ride,
Their canvas whitening every foreign strand;
For thou, oh Science, thou art there our guide -
Like that bright pillar reared at God's command,
To light his wandering sons through Egypt's desert land.
And by the radiance of that heavenly light
Now man may mark the wandering comet's way.
Measure the swiftness of the sunbeam's flight,
Command the elements and they obey.
O'er the whole earth he holds his godlike sway;
He bids the river from its course be driven,
And lo! it flows where'er he points the way;
And from the skies the lightning he has riven,
As erst Prometheus stole the sacred fire from heaven.
Science! illumined by thy living rays,
A brighter glory lights the dome of night;
There thou dost open to our wondering gaze
System on System round those worlds of light,
In silence winging their harmonious flight.
And when weak sense returns to earth again,
There we behold, when thou dost guide our sight,
Above, around, where'er our gaze hath been,
'Infinity without, Infinity within.'
Here hath thy sister, Art, upreared for thee
A stainless shrine where fair young spirits led
To seek thy smile, shall bow the willing knee:
They would not ask the radiance thou didst shed
Around a Newton's or a Franklin's head;
Albeit a milder and a gentler ray,
That through this world with loveliness o'erspread,
They may not roam along the sunny way
In dark and dreary night while all around is day.
May time tread lightly through these classic halls;
Long may their columns stand through coming years,
When we who kneel within these snowy walls
Have passed away to yonder blessed spheres,
Secure from change, from parting, and from tears,
Where our enfranchised spirits shall explore
Those boundless realms beyond the tide of years,
Rapt, at the shrine of all creating power,
Through endless time to learn, and wonder, and adore.