When from the vaulted wonder of the sky
The curtain of the light is drawn aside,
And I behold the stars in all their wide
Significance and glorious mystery,
Assured that those more distant orbs are suns
Round which innumerable worlds revolve,—
My faith grows strong, my day-born doubts dissolve,
And death, that dread annulment which life shuns,
Or fain would shun, becomes to life the way,
The thoroughfare to greater worlds on high,
The bridge from star to star. Seek how we may,
There is no other road across the sky;
When from the vaulted wonder of the sky
Along the cliff I walk in silence,
While over the blue of the waves below,
The white birds gleam in the sun like silver
And ships in the offing come and go,
And the tide is low.
Oh! it was here that in golden weather,
Under the cliff and close to the sea,
A pledge was given that made me master
Of all that ever was dear to me;
And the tide was low.
All night I cried in agony
Of grief and bitter loss,
And wept for Him whom they had nailed
Against the shameful cross.
But in the morning, in the dark,
Before the east was gray,
I hastened to the sepulcher
Wherein the body lay.
The stone was rolled away I found;
And filled with fear and woe,
I straight to His disciples ran,
Thereof to let them know.
I said, 'The body of the Lord
Is not within the tomb;
For they have taken him away
Unnoticed in the gloom.
When all the sky was wild and dark,
When every heart was wrung with fear,
He rose serene, and took his place,
The great occasion's mighty peer.
He smote armed opposition down,
He bade the storm and darkness cease,
And o'er the long-distracted land
Shone out the smiling sun of peace.
I had a vision of mankind to be:
I saw no grated windows, heard no roar
From iron mouths of war on land and sea;
Ambition broke the sway of peace no more.
Out of the chaos of ill-will had come
Cosmos, the Age of Good, Millennium!
The lowly hero had of praise his meed,
And loving-kindnesses joined roof to roof.
The poor were few, and to their daily need
Abundance ministered: men bore reproof;
On crags of self-denial sought to cull
Rare flowers to deck their doors hospitable.
Drecker, a drawbridge keeper, opened wide
The dangerous gate to let the vessel through;
His little son was standing by his side,
Above Passaic River deep and blue,
While in the distance, like a moan of pain,
Was heard the whistle of the coming train.
At once brave Drecker worked to swing it back,
The gate-like bridge that seems a gate of death;
Nearer and nearer, on the slender track,
Came the swift engine, puffing its white breath.
Then, with a shriek, the loving father saw
His darling boy fall headlong from the draw!
McMahon up the street of Paris came,
In triumph from Magenta. Every one
Had heard and praised the fearless marshal’s name,
And gloried in the deeds that he had done.
Crowds packed the walks, and at each seperate glass
A face was set to see the hero pass.
A widow by her landlord was oppressed
To pay at once her backward coin of rent;
For he, cursed by the wealth that should have blessed,
Forgot that he, too, in a tenement
Dwelt, with unpaid arrear; and surely he,
More than a widow, lived in poverty.
For they alone are rich who have obtained
The love of God, for which no gold can pay.
Blind to the peaceful joy he might have gained,
The craven landlord, on a winter's day
That pierced with cold and wind-thrust snow and sleet,
Drove forth the widow to the roofless street.
To baffle time, whose tooth has never rest,
And make the counted line, from page to page,
Compact, fulfilled of what is apt and best,
And vibrant with the keynote of the age,
This is my aim; and even aims are things;
They give men value who have won no place.
We pass for what we would be, by some grace,
And our ambitions make us seem like kings.
But never yet has destiny's clear star
For aimless feet shed light upon the way.
So have I hope, since purpose sees no bar,
To write immortally some lyric day,
Now comes the graybeard of the north:
The forests bare their rugged breasts
To every wind that wanders forth,
And, in their arms, the lonely nests
That housed the birdlings months ago
Are egged with flakes of drifted snow.