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    THE PROCESSION OF THE SEASONS   Table of Contents     HEROIC ECHOES

Ray, H. Cordelia
Poems

- THE SEER, THE SINGER AND THE SAGE

THE SEER, THE SINGER AND THE SAGE

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Dante


Rare medieval Spirit! brooding Seer!
Grand, lonely Poet! scaling heights divine
And lifting from grave mysteries the veil,
Through the dim centuries thou speakest still
In tones of thunder; and subdued by awe
We listen, for thy intutions fine,
Thy insight keen discovered motives hid,
And aim close wound in aim thou couldst perceive,
Unwinding minor aims in which 'twas wrapt.
Knit with the very fibres of thy soul,
Thy country's weal a cherished charge became;
And Destiny stern frowning o'er the land,
Upheaved thy feelings and inflamed thy speech.
Indignant at the wrongs that Florence bore,
Florence, thy well-beloved, thy hallowed home,
With stern denunciation thou didst wage
Against the law's lax mandates bloody war,
And all unawed, rebuked the false decrees
Of kings, of conquerors, popes and cardinals,
The pure "white flower" waving in thy hand.
Thy thought self-poised, self-centered, dragged thy soul
Into what depths of grief and deepest pain!
But to posterity thou didst bequeathe--
Despite the scathing of the contest fierce--
Thy reveries' illuminated page.
The groans of spirits plunged in woe's abyss,
The sweet repentance of the wistful souls
Climbing in patience Purgatory's steep,
Called thee to muse on life's strange mystery.
Before thy vision what fair vistas stretched,
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Empurpled with the glow of Paradise!
Thou heardst in dreams the harmonies sublime
Of martyr glorified and rapturous saint.
And she, Beatrice the celestial one,
Who woke thy heart's best love and sweetest joy
Alone was meet to guide thy willing steps
From planet to fixed star, and onward still,
Above the splendor of the luminous stars,
Where blessed souls their orisons uplift
And isles supernal bloom with amaranth fair,
Up to the Empyrean's crystal courts,
Where Majesty Divine enthrones itself.
And soon the perfect Vision met thy gaze,
The mystic Trinity all solved by light,
Three colors, three reflections in the one,
Christ was reveals--the Human, the Divine!
God's plan for our redemption clear to thee!
And now, O lonely Spirit, brooding Seer!
So long in conflict, weary with unrest,
Within the beatific realms above,
Bathed in that Light Ineffable thou dwell'st,
O yearning Soul, at last, at last in peace!

Longfellow


The "Psalm of Life" for thee is o'er,
O bard serenest! on the shore
Of shad'wy Time, we see complete
Thy life, so rounded, fair and sweet.

Thy tender thoughts, thy soothing rhyme,
Like sweet bells ringing, e'er will chime
With much of hope and joy and need.
For thou couldt soothe and cheer indeed.

Like pictures in some stately hall,
Hung where the loving gaze of all
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May seek contentment, thy true verse
May to each one some truth rehearse.

Who now can climb the Alpine height,
Nor see clear in the gleaming light,
The word that mystic banner bore,
That potent word,--"Excelsior?"

When dainty moonlight veils the stars,
We see framed in its "golden bars,"
"Endymion and Dian" fair,
While Love floats radiant through the air.

Shall we not oft at midnight hour
When silence reigns with mystic pow'r,
Hear loud "the old clock on the stairs,"
Its requiem mingling with our prayers?

When fierce the tempest roars o'erhead
And e'en the mariner knows dread,
Behold the little maiden fair,
The seaweed clinging to her hair!

Evangeline and Gabriel!
When woman's constancy we tell,
Her name in brightest hues shall shine,
Who made devotion so divine.

And Minnehaha! we can see
A scene of grace and witchery
When her we call; and then the grief
And pathos of her warrior chief.

When round the hearth some vacant chair
Is all the answer to our prayer,
We hear thee say, "Death is transition"
But leading to the "life elysian."
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When "day is done" and misty shades
Are deep'ning all the solemn glades,
And sadness comes, who well as thou,
Can rest and cheer and calm us now?

We fain--the "architects of Fate"--
Would wisely build; though naught of great
May be the end of all our care,
We still will hope and nobly dare.

So runs our life with thine, sweet friend,
And now when all thy soul-songs blend
With Heaven's music, shall not we
Still sweeter rev'rence give to thee?

A Thought at Walden

(After visiting the site of Thoreau's Hut)


O sylvan priest of Nature! rightly thou
Didst read her lessons; on thy solemn brow
Was left the dew of morning, and thine eyes
Saw deepest meaning in the changing skies.
Thine ear attuned to catch her subtlest sound,
Heard quaintest music trilling from the ground.
The robin warbling on the leafy spray,
The lark upsoaring to salute the day,
Were more than simple warblers unto thee,
And e'en the tinest insect on the lea.
Nature, thy mother, taught thy spirit fine
The essence of her cadences divine;
And earth being to thee naught save joy and praise,
Made of thy living rare and wondrous days.

    THE PROCESSION OF THE SEASONS   Table of Contents     HEROIC ECHOES