Nel Mezzo Del Cammin
Whisper it not that late in years
Sorrow shall fade and the world be brighter,
Life be freed of tremor and tears,
Heads be wiser and hearts be lighter.
Ah! but the dream that all endears,
The dream we sell for your pottage of truth---
Give us again the passion of youth,
Sorrow shall fade and the world be brighter.
After long labouring in the windy ways,
On smooth and shining tides
Swiftly the great ship glides,
Her storms forgot, her weary watches past;
Northward she glides, and through the enchanted haze
Faint on the verge her far hope dawns at last.
The phantom sky-line of a shadowy down,
Whose pale white cliffs below
Through sunny mist aglow,
Like noon-day ghosts of summer moonshine gleam---
Soft as old sorrow, bright as old renown,
There lies the home, of all our mortal dream.
The Building Of The Temple
(An Anthem Heard In Canterbury Cathedral)
O Lord our God, we are strangers before Thee, and sojourners, as were
all our fathers: our days on the earth are as a shadow, and there is
O Lord God of our fathers, keep this for ever in the imagination of
the thoughts of Thy people, and prepare their heart unto Thee.
And give unto Solomon my son a perfect heart to keep Thy commandments,
and to build the palace for the which I have made provision.
O come to the Palace of Life,
Let us build it again.
It was founded on terror and strife,
It was laid in the curse of the womb,
And pillared on toil and pain,
And hung with veils of doom,
And vaulted with the darkness of the tomb.
O Lord our God, we are sojourners here for a day,
Strangers and sojourners, as all our fathers were:
Our years on the earth are a shadow that fadeth away;
Grant us light for our labour, and a time for prayer.
But now with endless song,
And joy fulfilling the Law;
Of passion as pure as strong
And pleasure undimmed of awe;
With garners of wine and grain
Laid up for the ages long,
Let us build the Palace again
And enter with endless song,
Enter and dwell secure, forgetting the years of wrong.
O Lord our God, we are strangers and sojourners here,
Our beginning was night, and our end is hid in Thee:
Our labour on the earth is hope redeeming fear,
In sorrow we build for the days we shall not see.
Great is the name
Of the strong and skilled,
Lasting the fame
Of them that build:
The tongues of many nations
Shall speak of our praise,
And far generations
Be glad for our days.
We are sojourners here as all our fathers were,
As all our children shall be, forgetting and forgot:
The fame of man is a murmur that passeth on the air,
We perish indeed if Thou remember not.
We are sojourners here as all our fathers were,
Strangers travelling down to the land of death:
There is neither work nor device nor knowledge there,
O grant us might for our labour, and to rest in faith.
In joy, in the joy of the light to be,
O Father of Lights, unvarying and true,
Let us build the Palace of Life anew.
Let us build for the years we shall not see.
Lofty of line and glorious of hue,
With gold and pearl and with the cedar tree,
With silence due
And with service free,
Let us build it for ever in splendour new.
Let us build in hope and in sorrow, and rest in Thee.
Beside the placid sea that mirrored her
With the old glory of dawn that cannot die,
The sleeping city began to moan and stir,
As one that fain from an ill dream would fly;
Yet more she feared the daylight bringing nigh
Such dreams as know not sunrise, soon or late,---
Visions of honour lost and power gone by,
Of loyal valour betrayed by factious hate,
And craven sloth that shrank from the labour of forging fate.
They knew and knew not, this bewildered crowd,
That up her streets in silence hurrying passed,
What manner of death should make their anguish loud,
What corpse across the funeral pyre be cast,
For none had spoken it; only, gathering fast
As darkness gathers at noon in the sun's eclipse,
A shadow of doom enfolded them, vague and vast,
And a cry was heard, unfathered of earthly lips,
'What of the ships, O Carthage? Carthage, what of the ships?'
They reached the wall, and nowise strange it seemed
To find the gates unguarded and open wide;
They climbed the shoulder, and meet enough they deemed
The black that shrouded the seaward rampart's side
And veiled in drooping gloom the turrets' pride;
But this was nought, for suddenly down the slope
They saw the harbour, and sense within them died;
Keel nor mast was there, rudder nor rope;
It lay like a sea-hawk's eyry spoiled of life and hope.
Beyond, where dawn was a glittering carpet, rolled
From sky to shore on level and endless seas,
Hardly their eyes discerned in a dazzle of gold
That here in fifties, yonder in twos and threes,
The ships they sought, like a swarm of drowning bees
By a wanton gust on the pool of a mill-dam hurled,
Floated forsaken of life-giving tide and breeze,
Their oars broken, their sails for ever furled,
For ever deserted the bulwarks that guarded the wealth of the world.
A moment yet, with breathing quickly drawn
And hands agrip, the Carthaginian folk
Stared in the bright untroubled face of dawn,
And strove with vehement heaped denial to choke
Their sure surmise of fate's impending stroke;
Vainly--for even now beneath their gaze
A thousand delicate spires of distant smoke
Reddened the disc of the sun with a stealthy haze,
And the smouldering grief of a nation burst with the kindling blaze.
'O dying Carthage!' so their passion raved,
'Would nought but these the conqueror's hate assuage?
If these be taken, how may the land be saved
Whose meat and drink was empire, age by age?'
And bitter memory cursed with idle rage
The greed that coveted gold beyond renown,
The feeble hearts that feared their heritage,
The hands that cast the sea-kings' sceptre down
And left to alien brows their famed ancestral crown.
The endless noon, the endless evening through,
All other needs forgetting, great or small,
They drank despair with thirst whose torment grew
As the hours died beneath that stifling pall.
At last they saw the fires to blackness fall
One after one, and slowly turned them home,
A little longer yet their own to call
A city enslaved, and wear the bonds of Rome,
With weary hearts foreboding all the woe to come.