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- Music and Other Poems - 3/10 -


Into the happy harbour of the perfect chord.

IX

IRIS

Light to the eye and Music to the ear,-- These are the builders of the bridge that springs >From earths's dim shore of half-remembered things To reach the spirit's home, the heavenly sphere Where nothing silent is and nothing dark. So when I see the rainbow's arc Spanning the showery sky, far-off I hear Music, and every colour sings: And while the symphony builds up its round Full sweep of architectural harmony Above the tide of Time, far, far away I see A bow of colour in the bow of sound.

Red as the dawn the trumpet rings, Imperial purple from the trombone flows, The mellow horn melts into evening rose. Blue as the sky, the choir of strings Darkens in double-bass to ocean's hue, Rises in violins to noon-tide's blue, With threads of quivering light shot through and through. Green as the mantle that the summer flings Around the world, the pastoral reeds in time Embroider melodies of May and June. Yellow as gold, Yea, thrice-refined gold, And purer than the treasures of the mine, Floods of the human voice divine Along the arch in choral song are rolled. So bends the bow complete: And radiant rapture flows Across the bridge, so full, so strong, so sweet, That the uplifted spirit hardly knows Whether the Music-Light that glows Within the arch of tones and colours seven Is sunset-peace of earth, or sunrise-joy of Heaven.

X

SEA AND SHORE

Music, I yield to thee; As swimmer to the sea I give my Spirit to the flood of song: Bear me upon thy breast In rapture and at rest, Bathe me in pure delight and make me strong; From strife and struggle bring release, And draw the waves of passion into tides of peace.

Remember'd songs, most dear, In living songs I hear, While blending voices gently swing and sway In melodies of love, Whose mighty currents move, With singing near and singing far away; Sweet in the glow of morning light, And sweeter still across the starlit gulf of night.

Music, in thee we float, And lose the lonely note Of self in thy celestial-ordered strain, Until at last we find The life to love resigned In harmony of joy restored again; And songs that cheered our mortal days Break on the coast of light in endless hymns of praise.

December, 1901 - May, 1903.

PEACE

I

IN EXCELSIS

Two dwellings, Peace, are thine. One is the mountain-height, Uplifted in the loneliness of light Beyond the realm of shadows,--fine, And far, and clear,--where advent of the night Means only glorious nearness of the stars, And dawn, unhindered, breaks above the bars That long the lower world in twilight keep. Thou sleepest not, and hast no need of sleep, For all thy cares and fears have dropped away; The night's fatigue, the fever-fret of day, Are far below thee; and earth's weary wars, In vain expense of passion, pass Before thy sight like visions in a glass, Or like the wrinkles of the storm that creep Across the sea and leave no trace Of trouble on that immemorial face,-- So brief appear the conflicts, and so slight The wounds men give, the things for which they fight.

Here hangs a fortress on the distant steep,-- A lichen clinging to the rock: There sails a fleet upon the deep,-- A wandering flock Of snow-winged gulls: and yonder, in the plain, A marble palace shines,--a grain Of mica glittering in the rain. Beneath thy feet the clouds are rolled By voiceless winds: and far between The rolling clouds new shores and peaks are seen, In shimmering robes of green and gold, And faint aerial hue That silent fades into the silent blue. Thou, from thy mountain-hold, All day, in tranquil wisdom, looking down On distant scenes of human toil and strife, All night, with eyes aware of loftier life, Uplooking to the sky, where stars are sown, Dost watch the everlasting fields grow white Unto the harvest of the sons of light, And welcome to thy dwelling-place sublime The few strong souls that dare to climb The slippery crags and find thee on the height.

II

DE PROFUNDIS

But in the depth thou hast another home, For hearts less daring, or more frail. Thou dwellest also in the shadowy vale; And pilgrim-souls that roam With weary feet o'er hill and dale, Bearing the burden and the heat Of toilful days, Turn from the dusty ways To find thee in thy green and still retreat. Here is no vision wide outspread Before the lonely and exalted seat Of all-embracing knowledge. Here, instead, A little garden, and a sheltered nook, With outlooks brief and sweet Across the meadows, and along the brook,-- A little stream that little knows Of the great sea towards which it gladly flows,-- A little field that bears a little wheat To make a portion of earth's daily bread. The vast cloud-armies overhead Are marshalled, and the wild wind blows Its trumpet, but thou canst not tell Whence the storm comes nor where it goes.

Nor dost thou greatly care, since all is well; Thy daily task is done, And though a lowly one, Thou gavest it of thy best, And art content to rest In patience till its slow reward is won. Not far thou lookest, but thy sight is clear; Not much thou knowest, but thy faith is dear; For life is love, and love is always near. Here friendship lights the fire, and every heart, Sure of itself and sure of all the rest, Dares to be true, and gladly takes its part In open converse, bringing forth its best: Here is Sweet music, melting every chain Of lassitude and pain: And here, at last, is sleep, the gift of gifts, The tender nurse, who lifts The soul grown weary of the waking world, And lays it, with its thoughts all furled, Its fears forgotten, and its passions still, On the deep bosom of the Eternal Will.

August, 1901.

VICTOR HUGO

1802-1902

Heart of France for a hundred years, Passionate, sensitive, proud, and strong, Quick to throb with her hopes and fears, Fierce to flame with her sense of wrong! You, who hailed with a morning song Dream-light gilding a throne of old: You, who turned when the dream grew cold, Singing still, to the light that shone Pure from Liberty's ancient throne, Over the human throng! You, who dared in the dark eclipse,--


Music and Other Poems - 3/10

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