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    THE SEER, THE SINGER AND THE SAGE   Table of Contents     Longfellow

Ray, H. Cordelia

- 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,
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!

    THE SEER, THE SINGER AND THE SAGE   Table of Contents     Longfellow