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    CONTENTS   Table of Contents     MEDITATIONS

Ray, H. Cordelia




The Sculptor's Vision

A sculptor musing sat one eve,
When crimson clouds began to weave
Their sunset drapery in the sky;
Cold was his studio and bare,
But golden sunbeams lingered there,
And robins caroling flew by.

A vision on his dreaming broke;
With parted lips and eyes that spoke,
A statue stood of beauty rare,
And chiseled with such exquisite care,
It seemed no mortal hand had share
In what was like embodied prayer.

The sculptor woke to find his dream
Of loveliness was but a gleam
Of what the future might unfold;
And then resolved to labor late,
Until his work his dream could mate,
And daily carved with joy untold.

But sometimes sorrow mingled there,
For naught he fashioned could compare
With that chaste form which ev'ry night,
Would come to give him impulse new,
To bid him seek the pure, the true,
And lead him to a clearer light.

Nor wrought the sculptor all in vain;
The statue grew despite his pain,
In curves of beauty, strength and grace;
And so he loved his magic art,
His very soul seemed to impart
A something human to the face.

Yet was the vision fairer still;
Its subtle presence seemed to fill
The space before his troubled gaze.
It beckoned him to heights unknown,
And charmed him like the undertone
That floats through many olden lays.

And on he toiled from hour to hour,
Exerting all his skill and pow'r,
With fondest love and trust and prayer;
But as the work in beauty grew,
Strange longing haunted him anew:
For lo! his ideal was more fair.

As in his strife, is it not thus
That we are baffled, all of us,
In seeking clearer, truer light?
Then let us, like the sculptor, still
Pursue our toil with deathless will,
Advancing toward a glorious height.

And when our ideal grows more fair,
More earnest should be all our care
To carve with added grace and skill;
And then the task that we pursue,
Will serve to give us impulse new,
Our souls with calm content to fill.

Fancy and Imagination

Golden mists o'er Cloudland wreathing
Arabesques of shining sheen,
Sunny airs of violets breathing,
Lure weird Fancy, Cloudland's queen.
Lo! she hastens, flower-encircled,
Dainty, pensive, winsome fay,
Her fair brow all rose-empurpled,
While around flutes pour soft lay.

There is she--Imagination!
Gazing upward in her dreams;
Rapt, intent on meditation,
Sculpturesque, yet thrilled, she seems.
Planets lure her in their spaces,
Stars strew gold dust on her path;
She has looked them in their faces,
And a hint divine she hath.

Rare pellucid hues of dawning,
Iris tints of summer skies,
Streak fair Fancy's couch; glad Morning
Bids her ope her lovely eyes.
Wind-songs quaint Eolus showers
Round her home of golden mist;
Sweet she sings them in her bowers,
And the Silence harks, I wist.

All the pomp of constellations
Wakes Imagination's gaze;
World apart in meditations,
Sits she living wondrous days.
She can hear the chiming measures
Of the stars with stately tread,
The celestial strains she treasures,
Rev'rently she bows her head.

Tired heart! when life is dreary,
And the years drag slowly on,
Summon airy Fancy, weary
Is she never, hear her song!
Soul unresting, tossed with sorrow!
Just one strain of harmony
From Imagination borrow,
Calmest joy she'll yield to thee.


On every height there lies repose--Goethe.

An angel with a voice like summer show'rs,
Or woodbird melodies in tranquil hours,
Brought me one day a wondrous, radiant rose
Called in those happy isles but this: Repose.

Its fragrance was the balm of early flow'rs,
Fresh with the magic of the Spring's new pow'rs;
Its petals quivered with a soothing trill,
Like the soft murmur of a mountain rill.

Its hues were exquisite as dawning skies
When the first splendor greets the watcher's eyes,
Or as the sea-shell seen through silver spray,
Or as the last bright tint of fading day.

The angel said: "Not now may this thine be,
I only came to offer it to thee;
Not as a gift but as a hard-earned meed,
I give it to all those who feel its need."

One moment fast I held it, and a light
Like to an aureole, gleamed golden-white
O'er all around; while blended echoes clear,
Stealing in unison, fell on my ear.

"How may I gain this priceless flow'r?" I cried.
The angel in a flute-like voice replied,
"Neither by works nor penance, prayer nor pain,
Canst thou this rare celestial flower gain.

"But when love of mankind and duty flow
In one all-perfect song, one golden glow,
When purest echoes soar from purest aims,
Then will I come once more to head thy claims."

The angel vanished on a sunlit cloud,
But still his words were speaking to me loud.
I bowed my head, resolved to claim the rose
Called in those happy isles but this: Repose

The Mist Maiden

Is it an idle fantasy,
That in the twilight's violet gloom,
When waves are singing out at sea,
And shadows fill the room,--

The mist assumes before my gaze,
A human form of exquisite grace,
And by the melancholy haze,
Is veiled a peerless face?--

A maiden loved when life was new,
Her soul was trust, her eyes a prayer;
She faded quite. Can it be true
I see her in the air?

Her eyes are crystals, dropping tears,
Her hair reflects the silver moon;
Will ecstasy or sudden fears
Conquer my heart more soon?

She stands in statuesque repose,
A chiseled vision, calm and fair;
She smiles: my full heart overflows,
The maid dissolves in air.

May's Invocation
After a Tardy Spring

With her buskins tipped with dew,
Came a fair, enchanting fay,
Tiptoeing the forest through;
Who was it but smiling May?

Wide she waved her sylph-like arms,
As with Dian's grace she ran,
Laden with a thousand charms.
Then to urge her plea began:

Lilies, lilies! come, wake up!
Ring your dainty, perfumed bells.
Hasten! yellow buttercup!
Rouse! throw off Dame Winter's spells.

Sweet-faced pansies, wake from dreams!
Raise your melancholy eyes.
They are veiled too long, it seems;
'Tis no time for reveries.

Come shy violets, and ye,
Bonnie daisies! why so late?
Look! the sunbeams kiss the lea,
Do not longer drowse and wait!

Ay! the Sunshine is my knight
Who has lavished all his gold
For you laggards. What a plight
That ye grasp not wealth untold!

Now she stayed her speech to shed
Fom her curved horn nectar rare,
On each willing, waiting head;
Then resumed her wistful prayer.

Swallows, robins, orioles!
Tender thrush of liquid lay,
Why not here? the breeze-harp rolls
Far, inspiring tones to-day.

Bobolink, O tarry not!
See! the twigs are edged with green;
In the meadow there's a spot
Dear unto thy heart, I ween.

Doves from out your downy nest,
Coo, O coo a matin soft;
Just a hint of life's unrest
Echoes through your music oft.

Lark! I languish for thy note;
Where in hiding may'st thou be?
With thy silver-cadenced throat
Lead the Springtime's minstrelsy.

Flow'rets, flow'rets, warblers, haste!
April came with languid call;
Not a moment can ye waste!
Wake ye! wake ye! wake ye all!

The Poet's Ideal

"Spirit! what art thou erecting
On the heights of contemplation,
Where the vistas blue and shadowy,
Fade in airy clouds away?
At the fane of meditation
Art thou bowed to-day?"

"Lo! I climbed in floating ether
When the first tints of the dawning,
O'er the pale stars chaste in grandeur,
Shed a stream of liquid light;
In the azure calm of morning
Gleamed a vision bright.

"Twas air-fashioned: faint, dissolving,
Seemed its statuesque proportions,
Yet imperious and majestic
Were its gestures and its mien;
And all beauty seemed distortions
To this,--fairest ever seen.

"Round its head a circlet shaping,
Wove a cloud its golden tissues,
Where these words were writ in splendor:
'Ideal Beauty is my name;
I from life draw finest issues,
Wouldst thou do the same?'

"Poised aloft on heights serenest,
There she stands,--that radiant vision.
At the fane of meditation,
Wouldst thou know, O questioner?
Lo! I bow in calm decision,
Yield my thoughts to her.

"'Mid the vistas blue and shadowy,
'Mid the ether iris-tinted,
I erect Ideal Perfection,
And then worship at her shrine;
To the poet she has hinted
Sense of things divine."

The Perfect Orchestra

Up to those heights where angels rest,
Where dreams and yearnings unexpressed
Mount like the mist of day,
Ascends a solemn symphony
Soft gliding through the ethereal sea,
From mortal realms away.

Men moved by ecstasy or pain,
Conscious of all life ne'er can gain
Or rapt in visions fleet,
Musicians are: but through the hush
Of harmonies transcendent, rush
Hints of the incomplete.

On instruments unlike they play;
Some wake the lute with gentle lay,
Some touch the viol's string,
While others with unconscious art,
From the sad organ's deep-toned heart
Accents all soothing bring.

The noble thoughts, the earnest prayers
Of ev'ry one that meekly bears
The tangled skein of life,
Each holy prompting unto good,
Great aspirations oft withstood,
Yet cherished 'mid the strife,--

And truth that, like the lily's bowl,
Glistens with dew within the soul
And balmy fragrance show'rs,
Hopes that have made earth seem so glad,
Loves irresistible though sad,
Like brilliant thorn-clad flow'rs,--

These are the chords that beat and throb
Through the dream-quiet, like a sob
Tremulous with complaint.
As slow they flutter toward the goal,
Rare coils of mystery unroll
Melodies pure and quaint.

"Unheard this strange, imploring psalm,
Save by some pensive seer, who calm
Leans on his dripping oar;
Safe-anchored on an island far,
Where life's unrest, its fev'rish jar
Can trouble nevermore.

To him in peaceful waves it comes,
Soft as the silver river hums
The silence to beguile.
From contemplation of the stars
Just peeping through the sunset bars,
He turns to list a while.

But angels on those heights sublime
Where naught save unison can climb,
Bend eager, loving ears;
Glad in mankind such good to see,
For there the music soareth free,
Piercing the spangled spheres.

Responding to this asking song,
This mystic music heard so long,
They lend their sympathy,
Which through the concord softly floats,
Like to a flute's clear, trilling notes
Heard on the moonlit sea.

The orchestra more perfect made,
The strains mount up where streets inlaid
With rare mosaic wind;
One cadence still is missing there,
The sweet Eolian's trembling prayer
No soul on earth could find.

Ascending near the radiant throne,
Sorrow pervades the music's tone,
Sorrow ne'er heard before;
Its quiver stirs the asphodels
And roses, where the streamlet wells,
Encircling all the shore.

God, who alone translates our pain,
Listens and gives unto the strain
His benediction calm;
And quickly that mysterious boon,
Like an Eolian's wind-played tune,
Makes perfect all the psalm.

Wood Carols

When woods are odorous at eve
With violet perfume, and are fair
With leafy vistas stretching far,
Tinged by the golden air,

The mirrored clouds come down to catch
The warbling of a thousand streams;
And music weird like chords confused,
Heard in unquiet dreams,--

Floats through the arches from the clear
Wind-harps astir among the trees,
While in lone depths the nightingale
Trills soothing melodies.

Doves tenderly the prelude coo
To plaintive anthems yet unsung,
And leaves respond with dreamy sway,
That late all passive hung.

Waves of tremolo sweetness make
The warm air palpitate with sound,
Until the woods are quivering
With music all around.

Each note enfolding one more soft--
Of some enchanting whole a part--
Wakes the unuttered harmonies
Of ev'ry restless heart.

When undertones of strange unrest
Within us moan like babes in pain,
Come nightingale of silver song,
And trill thy sweetest strain.

When thought lies gently on the soul
Like dew impearled upon a rose,
Come tender doves of cadence rare,
And lull us to repose.

A Dream of Elfland

Sweet elfin music comes to me,
Across a glen embowered deep,
In rugged green. What fantasy
Did give it voice--like dreams in sleep--
Through fluted winds? An airy flood
Of cadences, dainty and soft
As rose leaves flutt'ring to the sod,
Enfolds the sense and feelings oft.

Through what air-woven lyres blow
The winsome elves? Chords interlaced
In sweetest rhythm lull me so,
Surely Titania must have graced
That weird rehearsal. Did they sup
On drowsy poppy flowers, ere
They sent vibrations o'er the strings,--
A breath of music, passing rare?

The elves, they strike such witching strains
They lull sad Sorrow fast asleep;
What heart is torn, what soul complains,
While they each sense in music steep!
Unwind your sylvan symphonies,
Ye weird musicians, breeze-like play,
Until your dulcet harmonies
Waft us to magic isles away.

Dawn's Carol

Fair Morn unbars her gates of gold;
Night's shadows lie, a thousand fold,
Upon the hills, the purple mist
By pure Aurora's radiance kissed,
Becomes a dream of color: now
Uplift the heart and bare the brow.

Such moments for us seem to weave
Hope's loveliest tissues; we perceive
The soul's illumination, caught
From some fair mood of Nature fraught
With harmony of sight and sound,
In majesty diffused around.

On the Picture of a Child

Sweet child amid the apple boughs,
How tenderly life looks on thee!
And Mother Nature brings her gifts,
Yes, e'en the loveliest that may be,

To tempt thy innocent regard.
How blue the heavens smile above!
How crimson is the rose's depth!
How beaming is the glance of love,
Resting on thee, thou sportive fay;
Thou learnst new lessons 'mid the leaves;
All golden-lettered is the page
The flitting sunbeam deftly weaves.

Do fairies hang their glow-worm lamps
To light thy path adown the dell?
And does the lily in the vale,
To thee ring soft her magic bell?

The violet, and what brings she
To scatter o'er thy charmèd way?
Delicious perfume; and the lark
Prolongs his note to cheer thy day.

There is a radiance in thine eyes
That well disarms all vague unrest;
Thou hast few yearnings undefined,
Thy childish griefs are soon confessed.

Prayer in thy soul is simple trust,
And love is all thy life, sweet child!
The woodbird's song is not more free,
His artless lays more undefiled

Than thine. Thy sunny countenance
Is naught save gladness, yet we know
The thoughtful years come on apace;
After Spring's green, the Winter's snow.

And for thee, tender one, we ask
That when the hours of trial near,
As come they must, undaunted thou
Wilt dare to meet them without fear.

And that the dew within thy soul,
Of innocence and rev'rent love,
May be as fresh as now, until
Thou wear'st a crown of light above.

A Dream Within a Song

The schooners with their pale green lights
Glance up and down the river;
I clasp my hand in Memory's own
And hush my heart's sad quiver.

Glad twilight birds chirp overhead,
And soft their gray wings flutter;
We pluck rare purple grapes, sweet friend,
And loving words we utter.

Wan statues stare in gardens fair,
Proud in their cold beseeching;
I stretch my hands to grasp a prize,
Too far off for the reaching.

The thrush sits lonely on a spray
Hard by a pure white flower;
I hear a strain, oh deadly sweet,
Float, swan-like, through the bower.

The breeze has sped on noiseless wing,
The river's restless growing,
The singer greets us on this bank,
With music round him flowing.

The trees with red leaves garlanded,
The river's banks are shading;
I call the singer, but alas!
He, phantom-like, is fading.

One silver star has crowned the eve,
Closed are the drowsy flowers;
I clasp my hand in Memory's own,
And leave these fatal bowers.


O sweet, sad, singing river,
Why dost thou chime forever
In answer to my weary heart's unrest?
Wilt thou not be confiding,
Or is thy music hiding
Some sorrow that can never be confessed?

O melancholy river,
Why do thy young leaves quiver
So plaintively along thy silent shore?
Are they some bird lamenting,
That for a while consenting
To warble to them, now far off would soar?

O sweet, sad, singing river,
My heart cannot dissever
Itself from tender hopes that round it cling.
O lily-crownèd river,
Love, though discrowned forever,
Wears lilies the enchanted Past will bring.

A Picture

Her ringlets glistened like the gold of morn,
And framed an oval outline statue fair,
Save where a shell-blush lingered for awhile,
Sending its ripples to the wavy hair.
Upon her features grace had shed its charm,

And in her smile sweetness to naught gave way;
'Twas like a streak of sunshine thrown across
The motionless repose of early day.
No sorrow rested on the calm, pure brow,
But thought held undisputed empire there.
Eyes like the dusky blue of evening skies,
Gazed in a dream or in a quiet prayer;
And through her aspect something noble shone,
That proved the soul to charity had grown.

Sunset Picture

The Sun-god was reclining on a couch of rosy shells,
And in the foamy waters Nereid's tinkled silver bells,
That lent the soft air sweetness, like an echoed seraph
Floating with snowflake hush the aisles of Paradise

The Sun-god wove bright flowers, gold and purple in
their hue,
And to the smiling Nereids tenderly the blossoms threw;
The sapphire seas were shadowy, like an eye with dreamy,
Where all the soul's mute rapture, a prisoned star, is

The billows' rainbow splendor, like a strange, enchanting
In fading, softened slowly to a trembling pearly gleam;
And soon the wondrous Sun-God, and the Nereids and
the sea
Had vanished; one gray-tinted cloud alone remained to

An Idyl of Spring

The air, the dream-inspiring air
Is floating, flutt'ring all around;
Delicious waves of pent-up sound
Gush forth like some long cherished prayer.
The woodlands gleam
With many a stream,
The skies are blue,
A promise new.

Wake heart! Hope hastens with the Spring!
Aerial pinions waft her near;
A fairy palace crystal clear,
Round which the rosy sunbeams cling,
Cannot compare
With castles fair,
She builds at morn
By clouds upborne.

In greenest vales the lily wakes,
The violets in the breezes share,
And oh! the strange, enchanting air
Through pipes fantastic music makes.
And we so free,
By reverie
Are caught in chains
Of exquisite pains.

O treach'rous, dream-inspiring air!
Yet wherefore mar the joy it brings?
Do we complain when the bird sings,
Because his song dies on the air?
Like mist our dreams
Vanish, it seems,
But they were sweet,
Although so fleet.

A Group of Musings


Sunrise Thought

Aurora gazed from out her shell-pink bower,
And down the aisles of light sent a fair Hour
With roses in her dainty hands, and hark!
A lark's sweet trill disarms the twilight dark.


Noonday Thought

The tranquil waters slept 'neath Nature's smile,
Watched by the sunlit skies, as, free from guile,
The tender infant sleeps, while o'er its bed
The mother, yearning dreamer, bends her head.


Sunset Thought

The crescent moon with silver sheen aglow,
Was set in the far skies, a chiseled bow;
And in the western courts, what riot rare
Of magic hues and tints beyond compare!


Starlight Thought

Vistas between the shadowy pines were bright
With scintillating stars, and all the night
Was claimed by Reverie; rapt 'neath her spell,
Thoughts come to us whose charm no tongue can

On a Nook Called Fairyland

Is't here the fairies haunt the place,
And o'er the green with witching grace
Trip to the merry roundelay?
Is't here the shepherd pipes his note
Where fair the water lilies float,
And plaintively the pine trees sway?

This is a value of dreams: anigh,
In dreamy cadence flutt'ring by,
Soft woodland murmurs grow apace.
The clouds so pure, drift there on high,
Repose seems gazing from the sky
With wistful beauty in her face.

Yes, this is fairyland! but where
May be the sportive elves who share
This sylvan solitude? To-day
No footstep lingers on the green,
The quiet song of waves, I ween,
Echoes no more the roundelay.

Life is not spent in Fairyland;
The Spirit that this beauty planned,
Gave each a duty to fulfill.
We may, light-hearted, like the fay,
Sing gladsome songs from day to day,
If we fail not to do His will.

On the Concord River

Under the hemlocks Fancy came
And took me in her tender arms;
She sang her sweetest, calmest lays,
And wrapped my spirit soft in balms.

Her chaste aerial form was clad
In shining vestments, and her tread
Was still as snowflake music; e'en
The lily did not bow her head.

Her eyes with misty splendor gleamed,
Shining like fountains in the sun;
She comes,--breath of music sweet,
To tune my life to unison.
Beneath the hemlocks folded close
In Fancy's tender arms, I lie,
And drifting, dream enchanted dreams,
While soft the river murmurs by.

Cloud Fantasy

I floated on a cloud one day,
An amber cloud, whose rhythmic sway
Held all my senses in a dream.
I saw the trembling vesper stars
Clinging and peeping through the bars
Of purple-gold and pearly gleam.

'Mid silver spaces caught in air,
Floating upon the cloudlets fair,
While swinging were the rhythmic cars,
Soft rapture did my senses greet,
A music tremulously sweet,--
The harmony beyond the stars.

Suspended in the ether there,
My spirit uttered voiceless prayer
To the great Being of the Light.
As darkness came star-vistas oped,
My soul that erst in shadows groped,
Rose tranquilly from height to height.

Invocation to the Muse

Take it not back! the priceless gift!
The joy that all my heart would thrill,--
Creation's ecstasy in forms
Which a mysterious soul did fill.

Has Fancy drained her silver rills,
And hushed her tuneful birds the while?
Imagination stayed her flight,
Poised on near hills to wait the smile,

That bids her, with the arrow's speed,
Dart past the clouds in ether far,
Nor pause, till faint with ecstasy,
She chants, lured by some chanting star?

Where is the strange, celestial lyre
O'er which my willing soul would play?
Give back once more, the golden lyre,
I would be thine alone to-day!

Comes not the incense from the fire
Upon thine altar lit, O Muse?
There lies the votive offering,
Wilt thou the sacrifice refuse?

I bring this morn the liquid dew,
Caught from Aurora, as she flung
Her benison of dainty light
O'er skies where shad'wy curtains hung.

I bring the music caught from hearts--
Strange minor chords, sad yet so sweet,
Which pain has seared with ceaseless clasp,
And gladness with a clasp so fleet.

I bring the music caught from souls
A flame with hope and deepest love,
And kissed by Life with throbbing lips
Into the peace of calmest dove.

Is not the offering complete,
With complement of joy and pain?
Transformed into a stream of light,
It floats,--harmony again.

I raise my eyes imploringly,
Come, holy Rapture, as before!
I kneel in supplication mute,
Oh! be the gift but mine, once more!

'Tis mine! 'tis mine! the altar glows!
The lyre quivers, touched by thee,
O Muse benignant! Low I bow,
Wrapped in a veil of mystery.

Before thy fane on sacred hills,
My daily orison I'll pour;
I have thy promise, gracious Muse,
Mine is the gift forevermore!

The Vision of Eve

When from the gates of Paradise fair Eve
Turned her reluctant steps with saddest mien,
A sense prophetic stayed her blinding tears,
And thus she yearning cried, her sobs between:
"Could I but see adown the coming days!
Yet, though I may not win that boon, alas!
One question haunts me with resistless charm,
What will my daughters be when æons pass?"

She bowed her head, then as with rev'rence spoke:
"A hope has seized my spirit, e'en though late
It cometh. Ay! and will my fault be less
By what they may achieve of good or great?
Are all my cherished longings to be vain?
I cannot know what grander purpose lies
Beyond the misty verge that bounds my view."
She ceased, with supplication in her eyes.

Again we see the Mother of mankind,
Yet not discrowned and mournful as of yore;
From amethystine battlements she leans,
Wide-eyed with wonder and admiring awe.
Far past the planets, past the swinging stars,
Past worlds on worlds that spin in ether there,
Her glances wander to the circling earth,
Lying below swathed by the purpling air.

Lo! what is it she sees? Forms like to hers,
When erst she paced fair Eden's flow'ry courts;
But on each brow there sits a something new,
A something mystical. Is it the thoughts'
Deep impress which the centuries have left?
The seal of alternating joy and woe,
Of care and grief, anon of hope and love,
Marked by the ages as they come and go?

And ever on and on the glances rove
Of our first mother. Now the marble yields
In Eve-like contours 'neath the skillful touch
Of one; another well the sceptre wields;
And one self-poised, regnant in dignity,
In philosophic councils holds the sway.
Upon the battlefield, one kneels to stanch
The crimson life-blood as it ebbs away.

And thus the dreamer spoke: "Are these my kin,
And has the world so grown since those sweet days
In glorious Paradise when Time was young?
Are these my daughters who with sweeping gaze,
Can scan the sheeny Heavens for a sign
Of God's deep wisdom writ upon the skies?
Are these indeed my children, all my own?
What strange, enchanting visions meet my eyes?"

She hears the rhythmic strains of one who caught
The Muse's most majestic melodies;
The lofty heights, the shining altitudes
Her latest children climb, with pride she sees.
"Ah! my prophetic hopes were not in vain,"
Cried Mother Eve with eager eyes aglow;
"Yet could I dream of this when Time began?
The deeds my daughters dare I could not know."

She paused, and soon her rapt soliloquy
Died like a zephyr o'er a leafy lawn;
She gazed once more from jeweled battlements
Far down the firmament, e'en as the Dawn
Blushed in the east; and when the magic hues
Began in music warfare to engage,
Throughout the spheres a chiming measure thrilled,--
The vibrant music of the newer age!

Ode on the Twentieth Century
(A Dream-Prophecy)

What seer is this,
Who gazing calm athwart the deep
Where pent-up storms and thunders sleep,
Nothing can miss?

O'er sweeping with his falcon glance vast tracks,
Chaotic, dim, mysterious.
What lacks
His prescience brooding o'er a cycle new?
What vaster view
Saw ever seer of eld wrapped in a trance?
What pageant more majestic to enhance
His spirit's yearning mood?
To distant caves
The mighty ocean laves,
To airy grottoes, where the lightning wakes,
His searching glance is sent.
Serene, absorbed, attent,
He meditates;
Forecasting what may be in days unborn--
Days that with sunrise freshness all impearled,
With wings unfurled,
Pause to alight upon a waiting world.

"What may they bring us, Seer?
Unto thy vision clear
Is all revealed?
What of those mystic spheres
Th' unfathomable years
So close have sealed?
What cult is taught in Venus?
Shall we know
Whether there come and go
Fair mortals on that soil unknown,
To manly stature grown?
Are hearth-fires kindled on that planet-isle,
And o'er the sacred pile
Does incense rise to some Divinity?
Look closer, Seer, and see!"

O the wonder of the vision!
O the marvel of the sight!

What shores and streams Elysian!
What scenes with splendor dight!
The seer is rapt: enkinled
His brooding glance has grown;
Then solemn made he answer,
With myst'ry in his tone.

"I grope: the scales are yet
Upon my asking eyes;
Forebodings of surprise
My spirit seize; then let
Naught rude disturb my consecrated mood.

"'Tis come! 'tis come! the vision grows apace!
The scales have fall'n, and behold! I trace
Wonders sublime;
The scroll of Time
With deeper mysteries will be o'er-writ.

"The world is spanned by bridges
Builded of rainbow rays;
O'er foam and wat'ry ridges,
They glitter, glitter to the moon.
They'll lead the foot full soon
To dwellings past the Pleads,
To Cassiope's bright seat.
A thought! and lo, we gaze
Amid a planet's haze.
Could motion be more fleet?

"And harken! Down the chiming spheres
To list'ning ears,
An anthem comes from Jupiter's vast plain--
A matchless strain.

"A message from a star!
Harness the winged car
With other steeds than any seen before.
Why heed our lagging pow'rs?
Star-wisdom will be ours;
E'en in a flash of thought
Intelligence be brought,
Undreamed of lore.

I see a hall of weird magnificence,
All studded o'er with scintillating gems
Of rarest lustre; 'tis a temple whence
Flows wisdom like a river; nothing stems
The rushing of its richly freighted waves.
Lo! 'tis on Saturn's isles where stately stands
That gleaming hall, and countless student bands
Are flocking thither in air-chariots brought
To learn the subtlest thought
Of star and planet lore,
All unrevealed before.

"Wisdom from worlds erstwhile beyond our ken.
Stupendous! marvelous! what deeds of men
Evoke this guerdon? Lo! the Deity
Makes man-to praise
His boundless majesty.
These works beyond compare
His signet bear.

And all the alchemy of Earth's vast depths,
Magic in coruscating jewels hid,
Secrets but vaguely hinted by the winds,
Marvels beneath the Ocean's wavy lid,
Have yielded to man's craving; myst'ries sealed!
Since sun and moon and stars from Chaos wheeled,
Are now revealed.

"I cease to gaze. I cannot struggle more
With mighty sights and sounds that wingèd come
From space illimitable, and my eyes
Grow misty 'neath th' effulgence. I am dumb.
I cannot fathom what so near me lies--
Wonders unseen, unheard, unknown before."
The curtains falls again, the quest is o'er.

    CONTENTS   Table of Contents     MEDITATIONS