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- Embers, Volume 3. - 4/7 -

Yea, Lord, Thou carest for my soul!


Over the hills they are waiting to greet us, They who have scanned all the ultimate places, Fathomed the world and the things that defeat us-- Evils and graces.

They have no thought for the toiling or spinning, Striving for bread that is dust in the gaining, They have won all that is well worth the winning-- Past all distaining.

Now they have done with the pain and the error, Nevermore here shall the dark things assail them, Void man's devices and dreams have no terror-- Shall we bewail them?

They have cast off all the strife and derision, They have put on all the joy of our yearning; We falter feebly from vision to vision, Never discerning.

Faint light before us, and shadows to grope in, Stretching out hands to the starbeams to guide us, Finding no place but our life's loves to hope in, Doubt to deride us--

So we climb upward with eyes growing dimmer, Looking back only to sigh through our smiling, Wondering still if the palpitant glimmer Leads past defiling.

They whom we loved have gone over the mountains, Hands beckon to us like wings of the swallow, Voices we knew from delectable fountains Cry to us, "Follow!"

Some were so young when they left us, that morning Seemed to have flashed and then died into gloaming, Leaving us wearier 'neath the world's scorning, Blinder in roaming.

Some, in the time when the manhood is bravest, Strongest to bear and the hands to endeavour, When all the life is the firmest and gravest, Left us for ever.

Some, when the Springtime had grown to December, Said, "It is done: now the last thing befall me; I shall sleep well--ah! dear hearts but remember: Farewell, they call me!"

So the tale runs, and the end, who shall fear it? Is it not better to sleep than to sorrow? Tokens will come from the bourne as we near it-- Time's peace, to-morrow.


How has the cloud fallen, and the leaf withered on the tree, The lemontree, that standeth by the door? The melon and the date have gone bitter to the taste, The weevil, it has eaten at the core-- The core of my heart, the mildew findeth it; My music, it is but the drip of tears, The garner empty standeth, the oven hath no fire, Night filleth me with fears. O Nile that floweth deeply, hast thou not heard his voice? His footsteps hast thou covered with thy flood? He was as one who lifteth up the yoke, He was as one who taketh off the chain, As one who sheltereth from the rain, As one who scattereth bread to the pigeons flying. His purse was at his side, his mantle was for me, For any who passeth were his mantle and his purse, And now like a gourd is he withered from our eyes. His friendship, it was like a shady wood-- Whither has he gone?--Who shall speak for us? Who shall save us from the kourbash and the stripes? Who shall proclaim us in the palace? Who shall contend for us in the gate? The sakkia turneth no more; the oxen they are gone; The young go forth in chains, the old waken in the night, They waken and weep, for the wheel turns backward, And the dark days are come again upon us-- Will he return no more? His friendship was like a shady wood, O Nile that floweth deeply, hast thou not heard his voice? Hast thou covered up his footsteps with thy flood? The core of my heart, the mildew findeth it! When his footsteps were among us there was peace; War entered not the village, nor the call of war: Now our homes are as those that have no roofs. As a nest decayed, as a cave forsaken, As a ship that lieth broken on the beach, Is the house where we were born. Out in the desert did we bury our gold, We buried it where no man robbed us, for his arm was strong. Now are the jars empty, gold did not avail To save our young men, to keep them from the chains. God hath swallowed his voice, or the sea hath drowned it, Or the Nile hath covered him with its flood; Else would he come when our voices call. His word was honey in the prince's ear-- Will he return no more?


In the sands I lived in a hut of palm, There was never a garden to see; There was never a path through the desert calm, Nor a way through its storms for me.

Tenant was I of a lone domain; The far pale caravans wound To the rim of the sky, and vanished again; My call in the waste was drowned.

The vultures came and hovered and fled; And once there stole to my door A white gazelle, but its eyes were dread With the hurt of the wounds it bore.

It passed in the dusk with a foot of fear, And the white cold mists rolled in; And my heart was the heart of a stricken deer, Of a soul in the snare of sin.

My days they withered like rootless things, And the sands rolled on, rolled wide; Like a pelican I, with broken wings, Like a drifting barque on the tide.

But at last, in the light of a rose-red day, In the windless glow of the morn, From over the hills and from far away, You came-ah, the joy of the morn!

And wherever your footsteps fell there crept A path--it was fair and wide; A desert road which no sands have swept, Where never a hope has died.

I followed you forth, and your beauty held My heart like an ancient song, By that desert road to the blossoming plains I came, and the way was long.

So, I set my course by the light of your eyes; I care not what fate may send; On the road I tread shine the love-starred skies, The road with never an end.


Oh, the garden where to-day we, sow and to-morrow we reap; Oh, the sakkia turning by the garden walls; Oh, the onion-field and the date-tree growing, And my hand on the plough--by the blessing of God; Strength of my soul, O my brother, all's well!


Take thou thy flight, O soul! Thou hast no more The gladness of the morning: ah, the perfumed roses My love laid on my bosom as I slept! How did he wake me with his lips upon mine eyes, How did the singers carol, the singers of my soul, That nest among the thoughts of my beloved! All silent now, the choruses are gone, The windows of my soul are closed; no more Mine eyes look gladly out to see my lover come. There is no more to do, no more to say

Embers, Volume 3. - 4/7

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