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The rapt brow of the Desert John;
The awful glory of that day,
When all o, brightness shone
Through manhood's veil of clay.
And, midst gray prophet forms, and wild
Dark visions of the days of old,
How sweetly woman's beauty smiled
Through locks of brown and gold!
There Fornarina's fair young face
Once more upon her lover shone,
Whose model of an angel's grace
He borrowed from her own.
Slow passed that vision from my view,
But not the lesson which it taught;
The soft, calm shadows which it threw
Still rested on my thought:
The truth, that painter, bard, and sage,
Even in Earth's cold and changeful clime,
Plant for their deathless heritage
The fruits and flowers of time.
We shape ourselves the joy or fear
Of which the coming life is made,
And fill our Future's atmosphere
With sunshine or with shade.
The tissue of the Life to be
We weave with colors all our own,
And in the field of Destiny
We reap as we have sown.
Still shall the soul around it call
The shadows which it gathered here,
And painted on the eternal wall
The Past shall reappear.
Think ye the notes of holy song
On Milton's tuneful ear have died ?
Think ye that Raphael's angel throng
Has vanished from his side 2
Oh no l—We live our life again:
Or warmly touched or coldly dim
The pictures of the Past remain,_
Man's works shall follow him
THEY tell me, Lucy, thou art dead—
That all of thee we loved and cherished,
Has with thy summer roses perished:
And left, as its young beauty fled,
An ashen memory in its stead—
The twilight of a parted day
Whose fading light is cold and vain:
The heart's faint echo of a strain
Of low, sweet music passed away.
That true and loving heart—that gift
Of a mind, earnest, clear, profound,
Bestowing, with a glad unthrift,
Its sunny light on all around,
Affinities which only could
Cleave to the pure, the true, and good;
And sympathies which found no rest,
Save with the loveliest and best.
Of them—of thee remains there nought
But sorrow in the mourner's breast 2–
A shadow in the land of thought?
No!—Even my weak and trembling faith
Can lift for thee the veil which doubt
And human fear have drawn about
The all-awaiting scene of death.
Even as thou wast I see thee still;
And, save the absence of all ill,
And pain and weariness, which here
Summoned the sigh or wrung the tear,
The same as when, two summers back,
Beside our childhood’s Merrimack,
I saw thy dark eye wander o'er
Stream, Sunny upland, rocky shore,
And heard thy low, soft voice alone
"Midst lapse of waters, and the tone
Of pine leaves by the west-wind blown,
There's not a charm of soul or brow—
Of all we knew and loved in thee—
But lives in holier beauty now,
Baptized in immortality
Not mine the sad and freezing dream
Of souls that, with their earthly mould,
Cast off the loves and joys of old—
Unbodied—like a pale moonbeam,
As pure, as passionless, and cold;
Nor mine the hope of Indra's son,
Of slumbering in oblivion's rest,
Life's myriads blending into one—
In blank annihilation blest;
Dust-atoms of the infinite—
Sparks scattered from the central light,
And winning back through mortal pain
Their old unconsciousness again.
No!—I have FRIENDS in Spirit Land—
Not shadows in a shadowy band,
Not others, but themselves are they.
And still I think of them the same
As when the Master's summons came;
Their change—the holy morn-light breaking
Upon the dream-worn sleeper, waking—
A change from twilight into day.
They’ve laid thee midst the household graves, Where father, brother, sister lie;
Below thee sweep the dark blue waves,
Above thee bends the summer sky.
Thy own loved church in sadness read
Her solemn ritual o'er thy head,
And blessed and hallowed with her prayer
The turf laid lightly o'er thee there.
That church, whose rites and liturgy,
Sublime and old, were truth to thee,
Undoubted to thy bosom taken,
As symbols of a faith unshaken.
Even I, of simpler views, could feel
The beauty of thy trust and zeal;
And, owning not thy creed, could see
How deep a truth it seemed to thee,
And how thy fervent heart had thrown
O'er all, a coloring of its own,
And kindled up, intense and warm,
A life in every rite and form,
As, when on Chebar's banks of old,
The Hebrew’s gorgeous vision rolled,
A spirit filled the vast machine—
A life “within the wheels” was seen.
Farewell ! A little time, and we
Who knew thee well, and loved thee here,
One after one shall follow thee
As pilgrims through the gate of fear,
Which opens on eternity.
Yet shall we cherish not the less
All that is left our hearts meanwhile ;
The memory of thy loveliness
Shall round our weary pathway smile,
Like moonlight when the sun has set—
A sweet and tender radiance yet.
Thoughts of thy clear-eyed sense of duty,
Thy generous scorn of all things wrong—
The truth, the strength, the graceful beauty
Which blended in thy song.
All lovely things by thee beloved,
Shall whisper to our hearts of thee; These green hills, where thy childhood roved-Yon river winding to the sea— The sunset light of autumn eves Reflecting on the deep, still floods, Cloud, crimson sky, and trembling leaves Of rainbow-tinted woods,These, in our view, shall henceforth take A tenderer meaning for thy sake; And all thou lovedst of earth and sky, Seem sacred to thy memory.
Not vainly did old poets tell,
Nor vainly did old genius paint
God’s great and crowning miracle--
The hero and the saint |
For even in a faithless day
Can we our sainted ones discern;
And feel, while with them on the way,
Our hearts within us burn.
And thus the common tongue and pen
Which, world-wide, echo CHANNING's fame,
As one of Heaven's anointed men,
Have sanctified his name.
In vain shall Rome her portals bar,
And shut from him her saintly prize,
Whom, in the world's great calendar,
All men shall canonize.