Two streams there were, two streams from separate founts,
Both beautiful to see, and one—most holy;
(From Siloa this, and this from Hippocrene)
Together onward flowing, side by side,
Through the mind's region. And on either marge
Of either stream were frequent altars reared,
Accordant with the Genius of each wave,
Or sacred or profane. Less solemn these—
As if for festal rites ordained, and dight
With sculptured attributes—for so they showed—
Of lighter faith; or Cupid's torch or Hymen's,
Or thyrsus bound with ivy; while beside
Their white reliefs sleek kid or heifer stood
With gilded horns, and neek by graceful hand

Of priestess wreathed with flowers; the which—for dew—
Trembled with ruby drops, caught as they sparkled
From full libations of outgushing wine.
Those other altars were beheld to rise
Of a severer beauty; their sole symbol—
The Saving Cross! their only sacrifice—
A contrite heart, and prayers not scorned in heaven!

Yet though each separate source, of false or true,
Sped its own oracles, which—rightly read—
Were of no balanced weight; yet still on each
Waited the Duties and the Charities,
Which soften or control our human heart.
And ministered to each its clustering Graces,
(Or classic called, or by more sacred name)
These, truly, of a looser zone, while Those
Stood by in matron-robe more strict. Nor lacked
To each its Muses—its delightful Muses!
For while beside one wave were heard sweet sounds
From the Eolian lyre or Theban flute,
Linking fresh sweetness to sweet ode or hymn;
Pealed o'er that other such high strains as erst
Broke forth in Judah from the passionate hand

Of Prophet-King—praise—or victorious song—
Or deep repentings—on the ten-stringed harp
Made vocal, then; but well consorted, now,
With the far-reaching organ, as it triumphed
O'er the full choir; or with some single voice
Mingled its milder notes.

Those varying strains
To hear; amid those varying groups of beauty
To stray, and learn what sage or prophet taught,
From every clime thronged vota'ries; and, in sooth,
Most sweet and profitable had it been
To wander 'mid the far-stretched lawns, which opened
Between those sidelong waters, and to quaff
From each in turn—worshipping at the one.
But so it was—the simple truth to tell—
The livelier flow of that less holy river,
And lighter Muses, and more pliant Graces,
Won to its careless marge the larger throng;
Still won; and oft, in their own reason's spite,
Amid its open Grecian colonnades
Kept lingering; of those graver Gothic fanes,
High arched, and dim, and of mysterious power,
Neglectful. And so 'twas till all had reached

To where those streams flowed round each side the hill,
'Which stands midway in this our mortal life.'
From that hill-top the backward-looking eye
Could track the livelier and the calmer currents
E'en to the distant cliffs, whence first they fell;
But to the forward sight—changed was the scene.
For while the course of that serener wave
Held onward, through mild landscape, to the view
Interminable, this from Hippocrene,
Not far below the base of that mid hill,
With sudden plunge flung itself under ground,
And, as it parted, sounded sad farewell!
Then, 'mid the votaries of the vanished stream,
Its lovers, with a too-exclusive love,
Were cheated looks and strange perplexities,
And sorrow; and, worse than sorrow, desperate mirth!
Some at their own loss jested recklessly,
Till came a Power, and bade them jest no more!
Some wandered, seeking; some, disputing, sat;
And, 'mid their seekings and disputings, died!
While fiercer bloods, impatient of the Present,

Which mated all too poorly with the Past,
And the' enigmatic Future hot to know,
With their own sudden swords resolved the riddle.
So fared it with the' unwise. The wiser part
Paused not, but turned them sideway to the marge
Of that, till now, less-heeded stream, and found it
Such as might win a will all free to choose.
More calm, perchance, than e'en when first they knew it,
And therefore to maturer choice more kin;
And if more deep, more clear; and, as more clear,
Adding fresh loveliness to earth, and still
With surer certitude reflecting heaven.

Soon won the yielding heart a kindred calm
From that calm stream; with hopes, bright as the flowers
Which bloomed around. For flowers were blooming round;
Some—new to knowlege; of perennial odours,
And all undying hues; thither, no doubt,
From Paradise transplanted. Some they knew,
If less enduring, yet almost as fair,

For dwellers on that Gentile-stream; nor scorned
Their presence here; nay, gathered thence sweet memories
Of many a joy once quaffed from Hippocrene,
With this their deeper bliss from Siloa's source
To mingle, as those flowers together mingled.
And feeding thus on old remembrances,
And joys at hand, and hopes more blissful still,
They followed the on guiding wave to where
Silent it lapsed into the fated sea,
Which all must voyage o'er. Nor ended here
The bliss. For by the shore rode anchored barks,
(Not by such fabled forms as Charon old,
But by Angelic Natures piloted,)
The' awaiting pilgrims o'er its rough or smooth
(For not to all the passage was the same)
Safely to waft; while from that very shore
All might behold what lovely regions rose
Beyond in the horizon; fair as clouds,
The fairest ever hung in western sky,
But not like them to fade; eternal dwellings
Of Spirits who had passed, and landed there!

More verses by John Kenyon

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