Page images
PDF
EPUB

As one, awaking from a glorious train
Of dreams and phantasies at dead of night,
Looks forth upon the darkness for a while,
Musing aghast; as if he thought straightway
Another image, beautiful as those
That have pass'd by him in their loveliness,
Would rise and fill the void of gasping thought:
But when the listless moments steal away
Unvision'd all and dreamless, doth start up
And question of himself what forms they were ?
And what he is, and where, and whence, and how?
So I, as panting to lay hold on that
Which would not vanish at my touch like snow,
Struggled to cast myself from out myself
In secret prayer and agony of soul;
And though in darkness, onward felt my way,
If haply I might find a rock whereon
To stay my weary foot; for all that once
I deem'd substantial had proved light as air,
And fragile as the foam on slippery waves.
The fashions of this world, its feasts and

songs, To my incredulous gaze seem'd planted now Upon the words

-no peace. The course of Time,

Its seeming endless cycles, its vast spans,
Stretching like new horizons day by day.
Before a journeying traveller, reaching far
Athwart the clouded Past and clouded Future,
In countless maze of circles, as I gazed,
All rested on one shifting sliding point,
Which men call Present, which was ever gone
Though still renew'd like shower drops in a stream.
And when with sickening soul I turn’d away
From all the unrealities of earth,
And the brief phantoms of historic worlds,
To what I deem'd were everlasting things,
And truths that borrow'd immortality
Of deeper things than mortal hand might touch
And mortal foot explore : lo, these likewise
Had vanish'd : darkness wrapt my steps in gloom.
Yet there are things that in the darkness live
A life intense and vivid as in light.
Prayer then can wrestle on victoriously,
And Faith without suspicion lean her hand
Upon a viewless anchor : there is One
To whom the night translucent seems as day,
And though unseen, I felt His presence filling

The vast and vacant chambers of

my

soul.

And one by one, as wrapt in silvery mist
That caught their diamond brightness, like the stars
Of twilight visiting a lonely vale,
The words of promise beauteously brake forth
And kindled into radiance. For a while
Wonder and rapture reft my soul of thought,
And left me tranced as a child who first
Stands on the shore of blue phosphoric waves
At midnight: but ere long the dews of heaven
Shed balm upon my fever'd spirit: all
Was peace: and the pure atmosphere of truth
Around me, like an infant's holy dream,
Diffused a light and beauty all its own.
Ah! words can never tell my bliss, for I
Had found what my soul long’d for; I had found
My spirit's home, my Father's presence, found
Wherewith to sate my bosom’s infinite;
And He was smiling on me, and His peace

heart of hearts, that peace divine
Which passes understanding. I did weep,
But they were tears of joy : I sigh’d, but 'twas
The fulness of a heart that overflow'd,

Was in my

Nor otherwise could utter what within
Was hidden. Long my musing lasted : long
I held intense communion with

my

God.

Oh, hast thou known the yearnings of delight
It is to commune with a tender father,
To cast the burden of a host of cares

Upon his father-heart, to feel thyself
His child, and in that blessed privilege
To ask his sympathy, his care, his love,
And with a deep familiar earnestness
Blend all thy thoughts with his, with filial fear
Yet fearless in affection ? If thou hast

Thou knowest an emblem, faint indeed and dim,
But yet the brightest, loveliest earth affords
Of the joy-fountains gushing in the heart
Of one, who, from the world a fugitive,
And from despair, and darkness, and thick doubt,
Finds there is yet one bosom where to cast
His sorrows, and a Father's heart that glows
For him, and yearns to greet him as a child.
Entranced, imparadised in joy, I knelt
There at the footstool of my Father's throne,

My Father's and my God's, and from His smile Drank life, drank beauty, drank intensest love, From love, and life, and beauty's fountain-head. I may not tell

ye more; but when that dream Of glory (if ye reckon those things dreams That have a deep and vast reality Beyond all certainties of sight and sense, As reaching the unseen eternal world) Had pass'd me, like a golden sunset cloud, My soul was as a sea of light, whereon No grief did cast a shadow; such as oft Thou mayst have seen within a summer sky, Sleeping untroubled in calm mellow light, Above the spot where the sun's chariot wheels Sank slowly into ocean. Yes, it pass’d, But yet I felt it was my own for ever, A wealth, a rapture, an inheritance. And quickly I bethought me once again Of all those airy scenes of young delight, That whilome, as I gazed, had pass'd away, Or seem'd to pass, like phantom soulless things. And a voice spake within me, “ Thou hast found, By finding out thy spirit's home in God,

« PreviousContinue »