O Summer Sun!
O summer sun, O moving trees!
O cheerful human noise, O busy glittering street!
What hour shall Fate in all the future find,
Or what delights, ever to equal these:
Only to taste the warmth, the light, the wind,
Only to be alive, and feel that life is sweet?
In drooping leaves of the plane
Hangs blue the early heat;
Stirless, a delicate shade
Sleeps on the parching street.
I wander this listless morning
By the banks of the dazzling river;
On the hot stones lean, where toward me
Lights from the water quiver.
And clasping hands upon eyes,
I plunge my thought in a dream
Of days when the sharp air stung
And the ice crushed cold in the stream;
Vainly! on body and mind
Has the tyrant sun his will:
And to me, on the hot stone leaning,
The city is faint and still,
Is faint as listening sands,
Where, awed by the heavy calm
Of the desert heaven, listens,
For ever alone, the palm.
Spring Has Leapt Into Summer
Spring has leapt into Summer.
A glory has gone from the green.
The flush of the poplar has sobered out,
The flame in the leaf of the lime is dulled:
But I am thinking of the young men
Whose faces are no more seen.
Where is the pure blossom
That fell and refused to grow old?
The clustered radiance, perfumed whiteness,
Silent singing of joy in the blue?
--I am thinking of the young men
Whose splendour is under the mould.
Youth, the wonder of the world,
Opened--eyed at an opened door,
When the world is as honey in the flower, and as wine
To the heart, and as music newly begun!
O the young men, the myriads of the young men,
Whose beauty returns no more!
Spring will come, when the Earth remembers,
In sun--bursts after the rain,
And the leaf be fresh and lovely on the bough,
And the myriad shining blossom be born:
But I shall be thinking of the young men
Whose eyes will not shine on us again.
The Fourth Of August
Now in thy splendour go before us.
Spirit of England, ardent-eyed,
Enkindle this dear earth that bore us
In the hour of peril purified.
The cares we hugged drop out of vision,
Our hearts with deeper thought dilate,
We step from days of sour division
Into the grandeur of our fate.
For us the glorious dead have striven,
They battled that we might be free.
We to their living cause are given;
We arm for men that are to be.
Among the nations nobliest chartered,
England recalls her heritage.
In her is that which is not bartered,
Which force can neither quell nor cage.
17 For her immortal stars are burning
18 With her the hope that's never done,
19 The seed that's in the Spring's returning,
20 The very flower that seeks the sun.
She fights the force that feeds desire on
Dreams of a prey to seize and kill,
The barren creed of blood and iron,
Vampire of Europe's wasted will…
Endure, O Earth! and thou, awaken,
Purged by this dreadful winnowing-fan,
O wronged, untameable, unshaken
Soul of divinely suffering man.
The August Weeds
I wandered between woods
On a grassy down, when still
Clouds hung after rain
Over hollow and hill;
The blossom--time was over,
The singing throats dumb,
And the year's coloured ripeness
Not yet come.
And all at unawares,
Surprising the stray sight,
Ran straight into my heart
Like a beam, delight.
Negligent weeds ravelled
The green edge of the copse,
Whitely, dimly, sparkling
With a million drops.
And sudden fancy feigned
What strange beauty would pass
Did but a shiver of wind
Tremble through the grass,
Shaking the poised, round drops
Spilled and softly rolled
A--glitter from the ragworth's
From the rusted scarlet
Of tall sorrel seed,
And fretted tufts, frost--gray,
Of the silver--weed,
And from purple--downed thistle
Towering dewy over
And the drenched, sweet clover.
But all were motionless:
Not one breath shed
Those little pale pearls
That an elf might thread
Under a fading moon
By an old thorn--tree
For the witching throat
Thump of a horse's hoof behind the hedge;
Long stripes of shadow, and green flame in the grass
Between them; discrowned, glaucous poppy--pods
On their tall stalks; a rose
With its great thorns blood--red in the slant light;
Round apples swelling on the apple--boughs:--
Over these, over the rich quiet, comes
Out of no--where a 'plane in the high blue
Driving its angry furrow across the sky,
Outstrips the slow clouds, throbs, an urgent roar,
Right overhead, and fiercely vanishes.
The quiet has become strange. Like from pools
A noiseless water issuing, memories,
Surmises, apprehensions, traceless thoughts,
Glide with brief visions on the mind, drifting
From shadow into shadow; and then a pang
Sudden as when a meteor scars the night:
See where Christ's blood streams in the firmament!
Dead faces of the young, that see nothing...
The unknown wounds, everywhere, everywhere...
And then from the inner to the outer sense
Returns the sun--warm quiet on the grass,
The poppy charged with sleep, the red, red thorns,
The stamping of the horse behind the hedge,
The strong slow patience of the living earth
And the apple ripening on the apple--tree
Almost as if I felt it in my flesh.
The Victoria, Lost Off Tripoli, June,1893
Heroes, whose days are told,
Above whose bodies brave
Presses the heavy, cold,
And quenching wave!
Ye sleep: but your bright fame,
Blown upon every breeze,
Touches with mournful flame
The Syrian seas.
Now all your English land
Trembles with tears, with pride;
Stretching toward you her hand,
There he that walks alone,
A vision goes with him;
In still field or thronged town,
A solemn dream!
He sees the placid, blue
The warships, two and two,
In ordered line.
He sees those consorts vast
On their doomed circle come.
With held breath, and aghast,
The Fleet is dumb.
For him the moments hang;
His ears the shock await:
On him, too, a strong pang
Fastens, like fate.
Transfixt, his eyes see then
The decks heave, lined with free,
Firm ranks; weaponless men,
Matched with the Sea.
Alas! the wound is deep.
Not even spirits so brave
Their vainly splendid ship
Keep from the wave.
On their last farewell cries
Shines the permitting sun;
With his men Tryon lies;
And all is done.
Yet through some hearts the prayer
Thrills, O that I had died,
Fallen in glory there
By comrades' side!
First Day Of Summer
Sweetest of all delights are the vainest, merest;
Hours when breath is joy, for the breathing's sake.
Summer awoke this morning, and early awake
I rose refreshed, and gladly my eyes saluted
The entering beam of the sun that laughed his clearest.
I too laughed for pleasure, and vowed straightway
To stream and sun the flower of an idle day,
With summer sweetly enjoyed and friends well suited.
Merry were we, as stepping aboard we laid
The shaven oars in order; merry the leap
Of the oar, that grasped the water and stirred from sleep
A wave, to tremble past us in foamy rings.
With rhyming fall, and with bright returning blade
Impetuous music urges the rippling keel;
Softly our necks the flow of the breezes feel;
And blue, and thronged with birds, the morning sings.
And lo, the elms, in a day reclothed and gleaming
In delicate youth, above us stir their leaves.
The eye, to naked winter used, receives
A magic pleasure: and still the shore we follow
Winding in flowery meadows; freshly streaming
The river meets us ever from fields unknown:
As light we travel his curving mirror lone,
No longer I envy you, O frolic swallow.
Till moored at noon by shadowy turf, and ended
Awhile that pleasant toil, what relish keen
At ease to lie amid flowers, with rustling green
O'ershaded; there, reclined by a bubbling pool,
The rushing weir in murmur and foam blended,
Entrancing ear and eye, caresses the brain
With smooth perpetual sound, the lulling strain
Of water weariless poured and glittering cool.
O then, refreshed, in the level light serene
Our boat re--entering, her prow homeward turned,
How soft we glided; soft, as evening burned
Through drooping leaves, our liquid furrow stirred
The dim green heights of the elm, reflected green
In shadowy water; at last the dreaming shore
From its own enchanted mirror we know no more:
Softly we glided downward, and spoke no word.
Nor took we land, till the West in a blush was dying,
And over the twilit meadow we loitered home.
Even now in my ear is rushing the constant foam,
And the dappled stream is alight with the wind's laughter,
As I taste, in the cool of the darkness dreamily lying,
The sun yet warm upon limbs that sweetly ache;
Drowsed deliciously, still I linger awake,
Only to keep my delight, and to look not after.
To The Summer Night
A sultry perfume of voluptuous June
Enchants the air still breathing of warm day;
But now the impassioned Night draws over, soon
To fold me, in this high hollow, quite away
From oaken groves beneath and glimmering bay
And valley rock--bestrewn;
From all but shadowy leaves and scented ground
And this intense blue slowly deepening round,
From all but thoughts of beauty and delight
And thee that stealest as with hair unbound
O'er the hushed earth, and lips sighing, enamoured Night.
Not the fair vestal of the Spring's cold sky,
But flushed from the ancestral East, thy home,
Drowsing the land, thou stirrest joy to a sigh,
Longing to passion and wild thoughts, that roam
As through those hungering Asian forests come
Panthers of ardent eye;
While over worlds wandering extravagant,
Like some divine and naked Corybant,
Thou movest; dark woods tremble and suspire;
And mortal spirits for life's full fountain pant,
As in content awakes the genius of desire.
Richer than jewelled Indian realm is thine,
O stepper from the mountain--tops! for whom
On viewless branches of the heavenly vine
The white stars cluster faint or thickly bloom
Through the sapphire abyss of glowing gloom.
Press out a magic wine
For me--I thirst--from that intensest height,
Where even our keen thought, outsoaring sight,
Faints and despairs, ay, from some virgin star
Brim me a cup of that untreasured light
Lone in a world unreached, abounding, and afar!
Most far is now most dear. Blot out the near!
Lost is the earth beneath me, lost the day's
Removed ambition, all that fretful sphere
Drowned in the dark, and quenched its trivial praise.
I would behold beyond a mortal's gaze,
Behold ev'n now, ev'n here,
The beauty strange, the ecstasy extreme,
Of what should this divine gloom best beseem,
The bosom of a Goddess, or her hair,
Invisible and fragrant--gliding dream,
Yet near as my heart beating, of such charm aware.
Why have we toiled so patiently to bend
This bow of arduous life? Unto what mark?
For what have set to our desire no end,
Steered to the utmost stormy sea our bark,
Piercing with eagle thought the frozen dark,
Been bold and gay to spend
Our warm blood, hazarded wild odds, and let
The bright world perish? What far prize to get?
What thing is this no speech could ever frame,
Nor hundred creeds ever imprison yet?
We breathe for it, and die, yet never named its name.
Star--trembling Night, Mother of songs unsung
And leaves unborn beneath the barren rind,
Who findest for forbidden hope a tongue,
Who treasurest most the treasure undivined
And flowers that banquet but the careless wind;
To whom all joy is young;
Prophetess of the fire that one day leaping
Shall burn the world's corruption, of the sleeping
Swords that shall strike down tyrants from their throne,
Mother of faith, our frail thought onward sweeping,
Breathe nearer, whisper close, spells of the dear unknown.
O of thy fated children number me!
Now while the alien day deep--sunken lies
And only the awakened soul may see,
Far from the lips that flatter or despise,
Foster my fond hope with thy certainties,
From time's subjection free,
That I may woo from some bare branch a flower,
Yea, from this world a beauty and a power
She gives not of herself; sustain me still
Through the harsh day, through every taming hour,
To find thy promise truth, thy secret grace fulfil.
Destiny drives a crooked plough
And sows a careless seed;
Now through a heart she cuts, and now
She helps a helpless need.
To--night from London's roaring sea
She brings a girl and boy;
For two hearts used to misery,
Opens a door of joy.
Wandering from hateful homes they came,
Till by this fate they meet.
Then out of ashes springs a flame;
Suddenly life is sweet.
Together, where the city ends,
And looks on Thames's stream,
That under Surrey willows bends
And floats into a dream,
Softly in one another's ear
They murmur childish speech;
Love that is deeper and more dear
For words it cannot reach.
Above them the June night is still:
Only with sighs half--heard
Dark leaves above them flutter and thrill,
As with their longing stirred;
And by the old brick wall below
Rustling, the river glides;
Like their full hearts, that deeply glow,
Is the swell of his full tides.
To the farther shore the girl's pale brow
Turns with desiring eyes:
``Annie, what is it you're wishing now?''
She lifts her head and sighs.
``Willie, how peaceful 'tis and soft
Across the water! See,
The trees are sleeping, and stars aloft
Beckon to you and me.
I think it must be good to walk
In the fields, and have no care;
With trees and not with men to talk.
O, Willie, take me there!''
Now hand in hand up to the Night
They gaze; and she looks down
With large mild eyes of grave delight,
The mother they have not known.
Older than sorrow she appears,
Yet than themselves more young;
She understood their childish tears,
Knew how their love was sprung.
The simple perfume of the grass
Comes to them like a call.
Obeying in a dream they pass
Along the old brick wall;
By flickering lamp and shadowy door,
Across the muddy creek,
Warm with their joy to the heart's core,
With joy afraid to speak.
At last the open road they gain,
And by the Bridge, that looms
With giant arch and sloping chain
Over the river's glooms,
They pause: above, the northern skies
Are pale with a furnace light.
London with upcast, sleepless eyes
Possesses the brief night.
The wind flaps in the lamp; and hark!
A noise of wheels, that come
At drowsy pace; along the dark
A waggon lumbers home.
Slow--footed, with a weary ease,
The patient horses step;
The rein relaxed upon his knees,
The waggoner nods asleep.
``Annie, it goes the country way,
'Tis meant for me and you:
It goes to fields, and trees, and hay,
Come, it shall take us too!''
He lifts her in his arms, as past
The great wheels groaning ride,
And on the straw he sets her fast,
And lightly climbs beside.
The waggoner nods his drowsy head,
He hears no sound: awhile
Softly they listen in sweet dread,
Then to each other smile.
Odours of dimly flowering June,
The starry stillness deep,
Possess their wondering spirits; soon,
Like children tired, they sleep.
The waggon creaks, the horses plod
By hedges clearer seen,
Down the familiar dusty road,
And past a village green.
The morning star shines in the pond:
A cock crows loud, and bright
The dawn springs in the sky beyond;
The birds applaud the light.
But on into the summer morn
Beneath the gazing East,
The sleepers move, serenely borne:
The world for them has ceased.
I found my Love among the fern. She slept.
My shadow stole across her, as I stept
More lightly and slowly, seeing her pillowed so
In the short--turfed and shelving green hollow
Upon a cushion of wild thyme, amid
Tall bracken--tufts that, roughly luminous, hid
Her hair in amber shadow. Then I stopped.
The light was in the West: the wind had dropped;
A burning fragrance breathed out of the ground,
And the sea--murmur rose remote around.
But my Love slept. My very heart was singing
With the sweet swarm of winged thoughts it was bringing:
And she lay there, with the just heaving breast,
So still. As a lark drops down to its nest,
I sank beside her, waiting for those eyes
To complete earth with light that nowhere lies
But in their depths for me, and carry home
The flight of my full spirit. I had come
From wandering wide beaches far beneath
This airy height of summer--scented heath.
I was alone, and the shore solitary,
And the sea glittered infinite and starry
As on the sands I paced, that dazzling wet
Shone round, until the tumbled rocks they met
At the gaunt cliff's root; silvery runnels, fed
From oozy levels draining to their bed,
Wound flashing between smoothly furrowed slabs
Which the sky coloured; there the youngling crabs
Had scrawled a trail, and weeds, dull--rose and green,
Lay by their shadows, where old foam had been,
Crusted with shells. A mist of finest spray
Blew from the western glory, and in the bay
The ever--streaming surges gleamed and roared
Like a rejoicing Power for ever poured
For the mere splendour of its motion: salt
The air came to the nostril; and the vault
Of heaven had burnt its colours into one
Unfathomable clearness, that the sun
Was soul of, as it journeyed down the West
And in the leaping waters made each crest
A moment of live fire. I breathed the immense
And shining silence. It was to my sense
Like youth, that's all horizon, and misgives
Nothing, and in the unbounded moment lives,
And names not hope yet among things endured
And unamended, being so assured
Of its desire and the long day, and so
Ignorant of that swift Night, saying No.
Ah, why should peace and liberty most bring
Into the heart that loves them most the sting
Of Time's oppression, and the thwarting thorns,
The loss, the want, the many clouded morns?
O for deliverance! To untwist the bond
Of circumstance; to breathe the blest Beyond
Where we would be; to incarnate clean and true
All we were born and dedicated to!
O Love, how often have we shared that sigh!
To me beside that boundless sea and sky
Intolerably came my briefness; all
The undone things. Why into hearts so small
Were crammed these hungering immensities,
Thrust each day back to a prison that denies
Their native satisfaction? I cast me down
On a great slope of rock that, ribbed and brown,
Was cloven at the top; and in between
The hollowed ledges I could lightly lean
And see the deep cup of a pool; it held
Its limpid leaving of the surge that swelled,
A tide since, over that sea--buried reef.
A round pool, deeply clear beyond belief,
Rough with minute white shells about its rim,
Its crystal in the shadow gleamed how dim
And small! while in my eye the homeless main,
Its brine was of, a splendid restless plain
Of water, spread a path for any keel
To take, the round world over, and to feel
Pressures of every wind, and haven far
Where it should choose, mirroring mast and spar
In sultry smooth lagoon, or under pines
Snow--plumed on iron fiord, or where lines
Of ships at a famed port with traffic hum
And chimes of foreign bells to sailors come,
And strange towers over crowded wharfs look high.
--Ah! such a drop of casual life was I,
At evening left: my simple, scanted, raw
Experience but the sipping of a straw
Snatched from me soon! I lifted up my gaze
Into the west and the spray--misted blaze
Where the sun gloried, and his glittering track
Allured me on and on. Then I looked back.
All was changed. Something had transfigured each
Of those hard cliffs that thrust into the beach
Their bouldered ramparts. Every narrow seam
Brimmed with the opposite light, and the warm gleam
Found out small clusters of sea--pink, and many
A samphire--tuft in its uneven cranny,
And bloomed a burning orange on the stain
Of lichen, and dissembled rosy grain
On the rock's blackness. At the summit showed
A gemmy green, where the grass patches glowed
Between those jutting crags. The air was hush;
And the shore quivered with a phantom flush
Of molten colours on far--shining sand.
All was as warm to sight as to the hand,
Distinct yet insubstantial, as if what
The eye saw had been created by a thought
Intenser than its vision. Memory played
A music in the mind, and Time delayed
To whisper names forgotten; I saw no more
The sculpture of those rocks, that vivid shore;
But far--off hours arose before me there
Beautiful in a bright unearthly air.
Memory touched her stops, and one by one
They came, each with its own shadow and sun
And its peculiar perfume: each a part
Of the quick blood and pulsing of my heart.
I carried riches; I was as a king,
Clothed in a more than royal apparelling,
Because of glories in the mind, and light
In eyes I knew, and the unended flight
Of thought, and friendship warmer than the sun,
And dateless joy, and hope shared, and things done
With all the soul's strength, and still precious pain.
Youth, O sweet, careless Youth, flooding the vein
With easy blood, what time the body knows
Scarce that it is, so brimmingly life glows
Within it, and its motions are like words
Born happy on the lips, and like the birds
On April--blossomed boughs rich fancies throng
The mind's exuberance and spill in song,
I think my heart back into all the bloom
And feel it fresh. As one that enters home,
I am there: the shyness, and the secret flame
Of ecstasy that knew not any name,
The wild heart--eating fevers, the young tears,
The absorbed soul, the trouble, and the fears
Wide as the night, the joy without a thought
Meeting the morning,--Time has never taught
My heart to lose them. Still I smell that rose
Of so inscrutable sweetness; and still glows
The glory of the wonder when I first
Heard the enchanted poets, and they burst
In song upon my spirit, as if before
No one had ever passed that magic door,
But for me, first in all the world, they sang.
Sweetest of all things, Youth, sweet in the pang
As in the pleasure, you are in me yet,
Changed as the grape to wine: could I forget,
Then were this hand dust. In those yesterdays
Memory happy and familiar strays,
Exploring hours that, long in shadow lain,
Come effortlessly all distinct again,
As in my light boat I would track the banks
Of narrow streams that rippled past the ranks
Of yellow--flowered reeds, and knew not where
They led me, for no human sound was there,
But the shy wings were near me, and I to them,
And the wild earth was round me as in a dream
And I was melted into it. I can hear,
Lost in the green, bright silence, where I steer
Beneath gold shadows wavering on my arm
The water saying over its low charm
Among the reeds, and, dreading to disturb
The mirror of the blossomed willow--herb,
Drink it into my heart. O idle hours,
Floating with motion like the summer towers
Of cloud in the blue noon, I have not drained
Your fullness yet, for all that care has rained
Upon defeated days of dark sundown,
Like burial of all beauty and all renown,
When the spirit sits within its fortalice
And watches mute. One simple, passionate kiss
Can alter earth for ever. Out of what
Imagination, or what far forethought
Of Time, came Love in beauty new and strange
With eyes of light, my earth and sky to change
And bring me vision of a promised land,
As if long--sunken centuries had planned
The meeting of our lips? From far we came
To one another, ere we had a name.
Wonderful shape, white ecstasy, the cup
That God with living wine has so filled up!
O body made like music, like a word
Syllabled in spontaneous accord;
Quick--sensed with apprehension; capable
Of extreme joy, of pangs far--piercing; full
Of divine wants, like a wave moving through
The passionate and transparent soul of you;
O mystery and power, charged with unknown
Futurities; a lovely flame that's blown
In the wind of life, and sister'd to all fire
That has in it the peril of all desire;
Dearer than breath, what are you made of, whence
Come you? I know not; the eluded sense
Only replies, ``To name her is to tell
The very name of Love.'' It is to spell
A language more profound than tongue can use,
Written in the heart's blood of the world; to lose
All that is worth the losing, and to trust
In spite of withered leaf and charnel dust.
Who knows his own beginning? Hour from hour
Is born; in secret buds, and breaks to flower
Within us. Nothing we have ever been,
Nothing we have endured, nothing we have seen,--
Ay, and before we came into this light,
Were sacrificial hopes, and exquisite
Fears, and the jealous patience of the womb,
And throes of self--consuming martyrdom,
Imprinted on the fibre of our flesh,--
Nothing is ended, but is made afresh
Into a subtler potency; the eyes
See a more wondrous earth, the senses prize
More, its more pregnant meaning; and we go
To enrich a world beyond us, overflow
Into a mind of what thoughts who can tell?
O Love, we draw from an unfathomed well.
Where are the June nights that made heaven a whole
Blue jewel, throbbing through the very soul?
Where is the dizzying bloom and the perfume--
Earth--ecstasy, sighed up to starry gloom,
That in the touching lips' ineffable
Communion, was a spirit and a spell,
As if we had found within ourselves a being
More infinite than any shown to seeing?
Where is the beauty that stole thought away
And moved to tears some one remembered day?
Where is the laughter some sweet chance would start,
To leave its summer warmth about the heart?
Where are the places we shall see no more?
Are they not powers to haunt us at the core
Of feeling, and evoke the eternal Now,
Like music, out of nothing? Nay, I vow,
Most perishable, most immortal tastes;
And the frail flame, that touches us and hastes
Into the dark, endures more than the build
Of proudest fortress. We are found and filled;
And it suffices. For we pass among
Grandeurs, and from a grandeur we are sprung,
Marvellous in our destiny, and know
Man is most man meeting a giant foe,
Whether overcoming or defeated. We,
Who hear, like moving rumour of the sea
And march of ocean waves, the human sound
About us, filled with meaning more profound;
Who know what hearts beat by us, and have shared
In all the mighty martyr names have dared;
Who feel all earth beneath the stars, the race
Of rivers, and the mountains in their place,
Faculties of our being; and have a mind
Dyed in the ardent story of our kind;
We in our briefness, in our storm and ache,
Our loves magnificent in hearts that break,
We, all our bonds and bounds exceeding, ay,
Burning a loftier flame because we die,
We at Time's outpost, we the thrust spear--head
Against the opposing darkness of the dead,
We are the world's adventure! We speed on,
Stay not, but westward travel with the sun,
Westward into the splendour that takes all,
And carry far into the great light's fall
That infinite memory of the world we bear
Within our spirits, burning and aware.
Wake, Love, awake!--Her eyes shone into mine
That moment. In the air was light divine,
Sinking and yet suspended still, to hold
Rocks, ocean, heaven, within one bath of gold.
But in the soul that met me from those eyes,
Impassioning the beauty of the skies,
Was my completion. Earth, as newly made
Ev'n to the smallest shape of green grass--blade,
Lived; and the thrilled, bright silence sang to me;
For in the hush I heard the boundless sea.
The Death Of Adam
Cedars, that high upon the untrodden slopes
Of Lebanon stretch out their stubborn arms,
Through all the tempests of seven hundred years
Fast in their ancient place, where they look down
Over the Syrian plains and faint blue sea,
When snow for three days and three nights hath fall'n
Continually, and heaped those terraced boughs
To massy whiteness, still in fortitude
Maintain their aged strength, although they groan;
In such a wintriness of majesty,
O'ersnowed by his uncounted years, and scarce
Supporting that hard load, yet not o'ercome,
Was Adam: all his knotted thews were shrunk,
Hollow his mighty thighs, toward which his beard,
Pale as the stream of far--seen waterfalls,
Hung motionless; betwixt the shoulders grand
Bowed was the head, and dim the gaze; and both
His heavy hands lay on his marble knees.
So sits he all day long and scarcely stirs,
And scarcely notes the bright shapes of his sons
Moving in the broad light without his tent,
That propt on poles about a giant oak
Looks southward to the river and the vale:
Only sometimes slowly he turns his head,
As seeking to recover some lost thought
From the dear presence of the white--haired Eve
Who, less in strength, hath less endured, and still
With slow and careful footsteps tendeth him,
Or seated opposite with silent eyes
Companions him; their thoughts go hand in hand.
So now she sits reposing in the dusk
Of their wide tent, like a great vision throned
Of the Earth Mother, tranquil and august,
Accorded to some youthful votary
Deep in an Asian grove, under the moon.
Peace also rests on Adam; not such peace
As comes forlornly to men dulled with cares,
Whom no ennobling memory uplifts;
Peace of a power far mightier than his own,
Outlasting all it fostered into life,
Pervades him and sustains him: such a peace
As blesses mossed and mouldering architraves
Of pillars standing few among the wreck
Of many long since fallen, pillars old,
Reared by a race long vanished, where the birds
Nest as in trees, and every crevice flowers,
As mothering Earth, having some time indulged
Men's little uses, makes their ruin fair
Ere in her bosom it be folded up.
Thus Adam's mind relinquishing the world,
That grows more dim around him every day,
Withdraws into itself, and in degree
As all that mates him to the moving hours,
Even as his outward joy and vigour fail,
So surely turns his homing spirit back
Unto those silent sources whence delight
And hope and strength and buoyancy of old
Flowed fresh upon his youth, persisting still
To seek those first and fairest memories
In youth and sunshine O how lightly lost,
How difficult in darkness to regain!
He sits in idle stillness, yet at times
From the dark wells of musing some old hour
Floats upward, as the tender lotus lifts
Her swaying stalk up through the limpid depth
Of pools in rivers never known to man,
And buoyed on idle wet luxurious leaves
Peacefully opens white bloom after bloom.
He is rapt far from this last shore of age;
He sees the face of Eve as she approached
To bring him flowers new--found in Paradise,
Or hiding her young sorrow on his breast;
And Abel as a child and Cain with him
Playing beneath the shadow of old trees,
All dearer by the desert interposed
Of time and toil and passionate regret,
Troubling his inmost spirit, until his face,
Wrought with remembrance and with longing, wears
The pressure and the sign of all that swells
And brims his heart, fain to be freed in speech.
``What ails thee, Adam?'' gentle Eve began.
``Why art thou troubled, what thoughts vex thy mind?
For though my eyes are dim, yet I can see
Thy breast heaves upward, and long sighs go forth,
And thou dost move thy hands, and shake thy head.''
But Adam answered not; he seemed alone.
Then, lifting up his eyes, he saw his sons
Slowly approaching in the evening light
With all their flocks; and many voices rose
On the clear air about the tents and trees,
As they made ready for the sacrifice
Before the evening meal: soon they drew near
To Adam's tent; and he looked on them all,
Standing to wait his blessing, of all years,
From the boy Adriel to the aged Seth,
Outlined with glory by the sinking sun.
Strange in their strength and beauty they appeared;
And Adam, though he saw them, seemed to gaze
Beyond them, seeking what he found not there.
Over them all his eyes unresting roved,
While they in silence waited for his word.
At last he spoke: ``Where is my first--born Cain?''
They looked on one another. Few had heard
That darkened name; but Eve bowed down her head.
And Seth stood forth amid them hushed and spoke
With a grave utterance, ``Cain is far away.
Thou knowest, O my father, how we have heard
That far beyond the mountains to the east
He dwells, and ever wanders o'er that land.
Many days' journey must a man be gone
Ere he reach thither and return again;
Nor know we certainly where Cain may dwell.
Yet what thou biddest, that shall be performed;
Shall we send to him?'' Adam answered, ``Send:
Let them go quickly, see that they make haste.
But on the tenth day bid them come again,
Whether they have found him, or have found him not,
For mine eyes fail, yea, and my heart grows cold.''
Heavy as pale clouds of October roll
Over the soaring snows of Ararat,
The vapour of oblivion fell once more
Down over Adam's head, in languor drooped
Between his mighty shoulders on his breast.
From morn to night, from night to morn he sat
As in a trance of deep thought undivined.
His children looking on his face were filled
With desolation and disquietude,
Sad as Armenian shepherds when they watch
For the still clouds to roll from those great peaks,
Praying the clear bright North winds to restore
Their guardian mountain; with such heavy hearts
They waited for his face to give a sign
That still gave none. Listless amid their toil
They grew, and sitting idle by their flocks
Each from his station, scattered on the hills,
Turned often to the east, in hope to spy
The messengers returning: but at eve
While the gray--bearded elders patient sat
In the cool tent--doors, they would pace the shore
Under the gathering stars, and murmured low
One to another saying, ``What is this
That comes upon us all, what evil thing
Whereof we have not heard? What cloud is fallen
Upon our father Adam, and why seeks he
This Cain whose name we know not? Peace is gone,
And nothing now is as it was before.''
And others answered, ``Well for us, if they
Whom we have sent on such a hazard come
Ever again or we behold them more!
Would they had never gone on this dark quest!
We have no hunters brave and swift as they,--
Ophir, that was the strongest of us all,
And Iddo, that could match the eagle's sight.''
Thus the young men spoke their despondent mind.
But every morn renewing wearied hope
They turned with the sunrising to the east,
And numbered the long hours till noon, and still
Nor morn nor noon brought tidings; and each eve
Watching tall herons by the sandy pools
Widen their wings and slow with trailing feet
And lifted head sail off into the sky,
They followed them with long and silent thoughts
Over the darkening mountains, far and far
Into that never yet imagined world
Beginning to oppress them; whither now
Their fears went wandering through enormous night.
Thus waxed and waned each heavy day; at last
From mouth to mouth the unquiet murmur ran,
``'Tis the ninth evening, and they are not come!''
The kingly star had stolen from his throne
In the first brightening of the morrow morn;
And far in the east, with frail cloud overspread,
Light hovered in the pale immensity.
A mile--broad shade beneath the mountain slept;
But opposite a dewy glimmer soon
Moulded the shapes of rough crags, and beneath
Strewn boulders, and thin streams, and slopes obscure.
There, on the slopes amid the rocks appeared
The youth of Adam's race, assembled forms
Sitting or standing with hand--shaded eyes
At gaze into the eastern gorge, where hills
Between dark shoulders inaccessible
Opened a narrowing way into the dawn.
Stiller than statues, yet with beating hearts
They waited while the wished light kindled clear,
Invading that deep valley, until the sun
Flamed warm upon their limbs through coloured air,
And slow rose upward: it was nigh to noon:
At last a motion on the horizon stirred
And a faint dust in the far gorge was blown.
Then those that sat rose up and gazed erect,
And those that stood moved and stept on a pace.
And as they watched amid the shining dust
Two far--off forms appeared, but only two.
Their straining eyes watched, but no other came.
A sigh ran through their troubled ranks, they turned
To one another, then again to those
Two lonely journeyers downcast and slow,
Who now discerned them from afar and raised
Their hands in greeting; then some ran, with cakes
Of bread, and skins of milk, and honeycombs,
Down the great slope to meet the messengers;
And others climbed the ridge and backward ran
Down to the tents, the river, and the vale,
And came to where Seth sat beneath a tree
Waiting, with folded arms, and cried to him,
``They come, they come; but Cain comes not with them.''
Then Seth arose and came to Adam's tent,
And stood before his father in the door.
Eve questioning sought his eyes: he shook his head
And looked on Adam; motionless he sat
Plunged in a trance, yet dimly was aware
Of tidings, as he heard the voice of Seth,
``'Tis the tenth morning, and thy sons return.''
Faintly by imperceptible degrees
Light stole o'er Adam's features, and Seth saw
The wellings of his troubled mind on them,
As one who in a cavern lifts a torch
And sees the gradual recesses grow
Out of their ancient gloom, uncertain shapes
Of rugged roof and walls without an end:
So dark from innermost obscurity
The slumbrous memories of Adam rose
And on his face appeared: yet still a veil
Remained betwixt his senses and the world;
When now the noise of many feet drew nigh
Softly approaching: and Seth spoke again,
``Behold! thy sons, thy messengers are here.''
He drew the matted curtains of the tent
Aside, and Adam raised his head and saw
All his assembled children coming on,
Hushing their steps in awe; they stopped at gaze
Now as his eyes were on them; but before
Came the two messengers and stood alone,
How soiled and burnt with travel! Round the neck
Of Ophir hung the leopard's spotty hide
Stripped from that fierce beast strangled by his hand,
Torn now and stained; neither had paused to wash
The thick dust from his feet; but Iddo held
A spray of leaves new--plucked to freshen him
Seared on the parching mountain; thus they stood
With troubled countenance and hanging head
Till Ophir spoke; all listened rapt and still.
``Father, we went; and lo, we are come back
On the tenth morn, according to thy word.
For we have sought Cain but have found him not.
We passed beyond the mountains and we crossed
The sultry desert, toiling in hot sands
Two heavy days, and thence with difficulty
Climbed the far ridge unto the land beyond.
It is a land not fruitful like our vale,
Barren it is with short grass and few trees;
On the fifth day we came into the midst
Of that bare country and we saw no man,
Nor knew we whither to direct our steps,
When on a slope at unawares we spied
A sheepfold made of stones, and Lo! we said
To one another, Surely he was here.
Then eagerly we climbed the highest hill
And all around gazed long, but saw no more.
But toward the evening, when the light was low
And the extremest mountains grew distinct,
Far off in the clear air, but very far,
We saw a little smoke go up to heaven,
And we cried out, It is the home of Cain!
But deeply we were troubled and perplext,
For we were faint and footsore, and thy word
Lay heavy on our thoughts, remembering it,
On the tenth morning see that ye be here!
Surely our hearts were eager to go on;
But thinking of thy word we feared to go,
And hardly even now are we returned.
Father, we did thy bidding. Is it well?''
All gathered nearer, hushed and wistful; all
Awaited Adam's voice, but he was mute.
They would have prayed him, but they ventured not;
Like hunters that at hot noon, lost in woods,
Pressing through boughs and briers, at unawares
Come on the huge throat of a hollow cliff
Ribbed with impending ledges of wet moss,
Whence in a smooth--lipped basin of black stone
Some secret water wells without a sound:
Then sorely though they thirst they fear to drink,
Awed by the mystery of that silent source,
So these awhile with beating hearts delayed
To speak, awaiting what his words might be.
At last he raised his head and turned his eyes
On Eve, and looked upon her long, while she
On him hung gazing: light began to burn
In his dimmed eyes, and his whole frame was wrought
With the stirring of his spirit, as of old.
At length the thoughts were kindled on his tongue:
He lifted up his voice and cried aloud.
``O that mine eyes had seen thee once again,
Cain, that my hands had blessed thee! Thou art gone,
For ever gone, and still that curse abides
On thee who wast my joy, my first--born child.
Eve, Eve, hast thou forgotten that far hour,
When our first child, our baby newly--born,
Held up his little and defenceless hands
Crying toward thy bosom?'' And Eve sighed:
``Surely my bosom hath not forgotten Cain,
Who sucked the tender first milk from its paps.
His feet are worn, wandering the desert wide,
But I have washed them with my tears in dreams.
Oh, in my heart he has not left his home.
Would I might lay my arms about him now!
Yet why, O Adam, utterest thou these thoughts?
Thou knowest how betwixt us and our son
There lies a land we may not overleap
More than the flames of those exiling swords,
Because of our fault, Adam, and of his.
Why dost thou waken this our ancient pain?''
But Adam still uplifted his lament:
``He is gone from us, gone beyond our reach,
Beyond our yearning, he remembers not
These arms that were around his weakness once,
These hands that fed him and that fostered him
And now would bless him. All these have I blessed
With many blessings, but him whom I cursed
Him would I bless at last, and be at peace.
He is gone from me, and now these also go
Whither I know not, and I fear for them.
How often have I seen them going forth
Into the woods upon these hills, how oft
See them with night returning, but now they
Depart for ever and return no more.''
Eve wondering replied with earnest voice,
``Behold them, Adam, they are very fair
And strong with all the strength that we have lost.
What ill shall harm them more than hath harmed us?
Remember how when I was used to fear,
Beholding our first child in his soft youth
Go from us on his tender feet alone--
His tender feet a little stone might bruise,
And would have caught him back to my fond breast,
Thou didst rebuke me, saying it must be
That he go forth alone; now thou dost fear,
When these are strong and we can help no more.''
But Adam shook his head and answered not.
For he was like a shepherd who hath lit
A fire to warm him on the mountain side
In the first chill after the summer heats,
And drowsing by the embers wakes anon
With wonder--frighted eyes, to see the sparks
Blowing astray run kindling over grass
And withered heath and bushes of dry furze,
And ere his heavy senses, pricked with smoke,
Uncloud, the white fire rushes from his reach,
Leaps to embrace the tall pines, tossing up
A surge of trembling stars, and eagerly
Roars through their topmost branches, wide aflame,
While all around enormous shadows rock
And wrestle, as tumultuous lights o'errides
The darkness as with charging spears and plumes,
Till the whole hillside reddens, and beyond
Far mountains waken flushed out of the night:
Then he who ignorantly had started up
This wild exulting glory from its sleep
Forgets to stir his steps or wring his hands;
The swiftness and the radiance and the sound
Beget a kind of rapture in his dread;
Like that amazed shepherd Adam saw
His race, sprung out of darkness, fill the earth
Increasing swift and terrible like fire
That feeds on all its ruins, wave on wave
Streaming impetuous without rest or pause
Right onward to the boundaries of the world:
And he how helpless who had caused it all!
So stood his soul still in a gaze of awe
Filled with the foretaste of calamity:
And his lips broke into a groaning cry.
``What is this thing that I have done, what doom,
What boundless and irrevocable doom,
My children, have I wakened for you all?
O could I see the end, but end is none.
My thoughts are carried from me, and they faint,
As birds that come from out the farthest sky,
Voyaging to a home far, far beyond,
Sink in our valley on a drooping wing
Quite wearied out, yea, we have seen them sink,
So my thoughts faint within my bosom old;
The vision is too vast, I am afraid.''
But understanding nothing of his speech,
That yet seemed opening some mysterious door
Disclosing an horizon all unknown,
His children listened, touched to trouble vague
And longing without name: like travellers
Who in a company together pass
On some spring evening by an upland road,
And as they travel, each in thought immersed,
Rich merchants, wise in profitable cares,
Adventurous youths, and timorous old men,
Through deepening twilight the young rising moon
Begins to cast along them a mild gleam,
And shadows trembling from the wayside trees
In early leaf steal forward on the ground
Beside them, and faint balm is past them blown;
All troubles them with beauty fresh and strange,
Stealing their thoughts away; so tenderly
Were Adam's children troubled when they heard.
Long silence fell. At last with heavy voice
And weakened utterance Adam spoke again:
``My children, bring me fruits and bring me flowers,
Set them within my sight that I may see
And touch them, and their sweetness smell once more.''
They hasted and plucked flowers and gathered fruit
Such as their valley yielded; balsam boughs,
Late roses, darkly flushed, or honey--pale,
And heavy clustered grapes, and yellowing gourds,
Plump figs, and dew--moist apples, and smooth pears.
All these they brought and heaped before his sight.
Voyagers in the utmost seas, when ice
Pinions their vessel fast and they prepare
For the blind frozen winter's boundless night,
How jealously they watch the last low rays,
How from the loftiest vantage in their view
Cherish the rosy warmth still on their limbs,
Tarrying until the bright rim wholly dips!
Adam, by huger darkness overhung,
So longed to taste life warm even to the last;
And fostering those fair flowers upon his lap
And holding a gold apple in his hand
Remembered Eden. O what blissful light
Flowed o'er his heart and bathed it in its beams!
It seemed the deep recesses of his soul
Welled up their inmost wisdom at the last:
He glowed with some transfiguring fire; his lips
Moved, and his face uplifted was inscribed
With mighty thoughts, that thus at length unrolled
Their solemnly assembled syllables.
``Look well on me, my children, whom ye lose!
Behold these eyes that have wept tears for you,
Behold these arms that have long toiled for you!--
These hands in Paradise have gathered flowers;
These limbs, which ye have seen so wasted down
In feebleness, so utterly brought low,
They grew not into stature like your limbs.
I wailed not into this great world a child
Helpless and speechless, understanding naught,
But from God's rapture perfect and full--grown
I suddenly awoke out of the dark.
How sweet a languor did enrich the blood
In my warmed veins, as on my opening eyes
The splendour of the world shone slowly in,
Mingling its radiant colours in my soul!
Yea, in my soul and only in my soul
I deemed them to abide: sky, water, trees,
The moving shadows and the tender light,
This solid earth, this wide and teeming earth,
Which we have trodden, weary step by step,
Nor found beginning of an end of it,
I deemed it all abounding in my brain:
The murmur of the waters and the winds
Seemed but a music sighing from my joy;
Then I arose, and ventured forth afoot;
And soon, how soon, was dispossessed of all!
By every step I travelled into truth
That stripped me of my proud dreams, one by one,
Till all were taken. On such faltering feet
By gradual but most certain steps I came
Into my real and perfect solitude,
Alone amid the world that knew not me.
O Eve, thou knowest what I tell not now,
How I was comforted, and all the woe
That fell on our transgression; yet not less
When that first child lay babbling on thy knees,
Then again said I, `Surely this is mine.'
And you, my children, whom I saw increase
Around me, stronger as my strength decayed,
How often have I called you also mine!
But now my first--born is not any more,
Or wanders lost from me, and ye, ye too
Go from me over earth, forgetting me.
So surely I perceive, for all that I
In joy begot you, ye are mine no more.
But ye, who seem the proud and easy lords
Of this fair earth, ye too must tread the path
Which I trod in my ignorant longing, lose
What I have lost, and find what I have found.
What seek you, O my children, what seek you?
For I behold you in this narrow vale,
That mountains and deep forests compass round
Filled with desires. Beyond is all the world
That hardly shall content them; ye must go
Forth into that vast world, as from my feet
This water glides, we know not whither; yea,
Even as this stream is prisoned in its speed,
So shall ye be imprisoned in desire.
But when you have imagined peace and balm
For your endeavour, musing, `This is mine,'
When you shall say, `I have a cause for joy,'
Then be distrustful, lest you only learn
How cruel is desire till it attain,
And being baffled yet more cruel grows,
Indignant not to find what it had sought,
And suffering ye rage, and raging fall
Upon your own flesh. Ah, deal tenderly
With one another, O my sons, for ye,
Caged in these limbs that toil under the noon,
Are capable of sorrow huge as night;
And still must ye bear all, whatever come.
Look how the trees in an untimely spring
Put forth their sweet shoots on the frosty air
That withers up the tender sap, yet still
Cannot delay their ripening, nor fold back
Their wounded buds into the sheltering rind;
So shall ye shrink, yet so must ye endure.
I that was strong and proud in strength, and now
Am come to this last weakness, tell you this:
Alas, could ye but know it as I know.
I speak in vain, ye cannot understand.''
He ended sighing: for his mind was filled
With apprehensions rolling up from far
The doom and tribulation of his race.
Looking upon the faces of his sons,
Well he divined their weakness from his own.
He knew what they should suffer; yet the worst
He knew not; had he known, he would have rued
Less to be parent of their feebleness
Than of their strength, the power to maim and rend
And ravage even that which to their hearts
Is dearest, though they know not what they do,
Trampling their peace in dust; had he seen all
The dreadful actors on the endless stage,
Sprung from his loins,--the triumphing blind hordes,
Spurred by an ignorant fury to create
An engine of fierce pleasure in the pangs
Wrung from the brave, the gentle, and the wise,
And raging at a beauty not their own
That vexes all their vileness; till the world,
Discovering too late its precious loss,
Loves and laments in vain: had he seen this,
His grief had gone forth in a bitterer cry.
But they that heard him heard incredulous.
Trouble was far, and sweet youth in their hearts.
The beauty of the world encompassed them;
All else was fable; and they stood elate
Yet stirred and pensive, in such wondering pause
As might a troop of children who have found
In a king's garden, under shadowy yews,
Ancestral marbles on a sculptured wall,
Half hid in vines, and lifting up the leaves
Gaze in a bright--eyed wonder on fair shapes
Of arming heroes and unhappy queens,
Or press soft lips on Helen's woeful mouth,
Touching her perfect breast, and smile on her,
Unknowing how beneath that heavenly mould
Swelled, like a sea, the powers of love and pain,
Powers that shall surely also rock themselves
In storms, and their young courage crush to sobs,
Toss them on easeless beds, blind their hot eyes
With tears, in longing violent as vain,
Till they shall quite forget how life was once
Sweet as a rose's breath and only fair,
As now 'tis fair and sweet to Adam's sons.
Exalted in expectancy, they mused,
And in their veins a warmer current glowed
Round their full--moulded limbs; their open eyes
Shone wistful, and they murmured to themselves,
When Adam's voice recalled them to his grief.
Out of unfathomable deeps his words
Seemed drawn in solemn slowness. ``Lo, the light
Makes ready to go from you, even as I.
Hearken, my sons! Upon the mountain side
There is a cave that looks toward the East:
And thence in the evening clearness have I oft
Far--off beheld the gates of Paradise.
Mine eyes would feel that glory once again
Ere they be turned for ever to the night.
Therefore go down and strew a bed for me,
Lay me upon that bed and bear me up.
It grows late and I may not tarry more.''
But now at last the certainty of woe
Smote through them, and they feared exceedingly,
Scarce knowing yet what this command might mean.
They would have stayed, but Adam with raised hands
Moved them unto his bidding; they went down
And busied them, most sadly, o'er that toil
By the stream's shore, plaiting a bed of withes,
And some prepared rough poles, some gathered leaves.
Adam with Eve remained alone; the light
Slept warm upon the grass and on their feet,
And round about them in the spacious tent
Struck upward hovering glories, pale and clear.
He turned to her those eyes which never yet
Sought there a solace or heart's ease in vain,
And spoke, ``O Eve!'' but even there his voice
Stopt in the shadow of his coming thoughts,
And he could say no more; but she came near
To lay her hands on his cold hands, and looked
On his bowed face, and with a soft reproach
Answered him, ``Adam, thou didst say but now
That all were going from thee o'er the earth
And thou shouldst be alone, and none be thine,
And no companion with thee any more.
Am I not with thee? Shall I go from thee?
Am I not thine? Am I not wholly thine?''
Then Adam lifted up his fallen brow
And gently laid his great arms round her neck;
He looked into her eyes, into her soul.
The face of Eve was falling toward his breast;
Her hair with his was mingled; now no more
They spoke, for they had come beyond all words.
They spoke not, stirred not, but together leaned,
Grand in the marble gesture of a grief
Becalmed for ever in the certitude
Of this last hour that over them stood still.
Thus had they stayed, nor moved, nor heeded aught;
But 'twixt them and the light a shadow fell:
And Adam lifted up his eyes, and saw
Seth standing there; he knew the hour was come.
For lo, about the doorway were the sons
Of Adam all assembled, with their wives
And children weeping; they had brought a bed
Of plaited osiers heaped with leaves; and now
Laying him on that litter, silently
They lifted up the poles. Eve weeping sank
Upon her knees: she kissed the dear last kiss;
She held his body in her tender arms
One aching moment, then relinquished him.
Thus they began, the young men and the old,
To bear him forth, unwillingly, with slow
Sad footsteps planted on the yielding sand,
While all the women wailed and wept aloud,
Beating their breasts; they felt and were afraid
Yet understood not; their despair was blind.
But Eve, who understood her perfect loss
Even to the utmost pang, wept now no more.
Her daughters sobbing round her, hid their heads:
She only, with dim eyes, stretched forth her hands.
But they that bore the litter passed beside
The bright stream's pebbly margin; and with them
The bearded men and boys, all overcome
With desolating thoughts and silent fears,
Followed: soon slowly they began to climb
Slopes scattered darkly o'er their bossy knolls
With shadowy cedars, where the jutting ribs
Of gray rock interposed; until at last
They came to the great cavern in the cliff,
And rested, gazing backward o'er the vale
Reposing in the golden solitude.
Then Adam said, ``Lift me, that I may see.''
With careful arms they lifted him: he gazed
Down on the valley stretched out at his feet,
Marked with the shining stream; he saw beyond
Ranges of endless hills, and very far
On the remote horizon high and clear
Shone marvellous the gates of Paradise.
There was his home, his lost home, there the paths
His feet had trod in bliss and tears, the streams,
The heavenly trees that had o'ershadowed him,
Removed all into radiance, clear and strange
As to a fisher on dark Caspian waves,
Far from the land, appears the glimmering snow
Of Caucasus, already bathed in dawn,
Like a suspended opal huge in heaven,
And wonder awes him to remember how
Long happy mornings of his youth he strayed
Over those same far valleys of his home,
Now melted and subdued to phantom shade
Beneath that lonely mount hung in the dawn:
So over darkened intervening vales
Tinged in the sweet fire of the light's farewell,
Shone Eden upon Adam. Then he sighed
A sigh not all of grief, ``It is enough.
Leave me, my children, to my peace; go ye
And comfort Eve, go, prosper and be blest.''
They each turned fearfully to each, but Seth
Bowed down his head and hushed them with his hand.
Silent with running tears they wept farewell,
And, often looking backward, on slow feet
Moved down the wide slope. Adam was alone.
At last his eyes were closing, yet he saw
Dimly the shapes of his departing sons,
Inheriting their endless fate; for them
The world lay free, and all things possible.
Perchance his dying gaze, so satisfied,
Was lightened, and he saw how vast a scope
Ennobled them of power to dare beyond
Their mortal frailty in immortal deeds,
Exceeding their brief days in excellence,
Not with the easy victory of gods
Triumphant, but in suffering more divine;
Since that which drives them to unnumbered woes,
Their burning deep unquenchable desire,
Shall be their glory, and shall forge at last
From fiery pangs their everlasting peace.