Psalm Of The West
by Sidney Lanier
Land of the willful gospel, thou worst and thou best;
Tall Adam of lands, new-made of the dust of the West;
Thou wroughtest alone in the Garden of God, unblest
Till He fashioned lithe Freedom to lie for thine Eve on thy breast --
Till out of thy heart's dear neighborhood, out of thy side,
He fashioned an intimate Sweet one and brought thee a Bride.
Cry hail! nor bewail that the wound of her coming was wide.
Lo, Freedom reached forth where the world as an apple hung red;
`Let us taste the whole radiant round of it,' gayly she said:
`If we die, at the worst we shall lie as the first of the dead.'
Knowledge of Good and of Ill, O Land! she hath given thee;
Perilous godhoods of choosing have rent thee and riven thee;
Will's high adoring to Ill's low exploring hath driven thee --
Freedom, thy Wife, hath uplifted thy life and clean shriven thee!
Her shalt thou clasp for a balm to the scars of thy breast,
Her shalt thou kiss for a calm to thy wars of unrest,
Her shalt extol in the psalm of the soul of the West.
For Weakness, in freedom, grows stronger than Strength with a chain;
And Error, in freedom, will come to lamenting his stain,
Till freely repenting he whiten his spirit again;
And Friendship, in freedom, will blot out the bounding of race;
And straight Law, in freedom, will curve to the rounding of grace;
And Fashion, in freedom, will die of the lie in her face;
And Desire flame white on the sense as a fire on a height,
And Sex flame white in the soul as a star in the night,
And Marriage plight sense unto soul as the two-colored light
Of the fire and the star shines one with a duplicate might;
And Science be known as the sense making love to the All,
And Art be known as the soul making love to the All,
And Love be known as the marriage of man with the All --
Till Science to knowing the Highest shall lovingly turn,
Till Art to loving the Highest shall consciously burn,
Till Science to Art as a man to a woman shall yearn,
-- Then morn!
When Faith from the wedding of Knowing and Loving shall purely be born,
And the Child shall smile in the West, and the West to the East give morn,
And the Time in that ultimate Prime shall forget old regretting and scorn,
Yea, the stream of the light shall give off in a shimmer
the dream of the night forlorn.
Once on a time a soul
Too full of his dole
In a querulous dream went crying from pole to pole --
Went sobbing and crying
For ever a sorrowful song of living and dying,
How `life was the dropping and death the drying
Of a Tear that fell in a day when God was sighing.'
And ever Time tossed him bitterly to and fro
As a shuttle inlaying a perilous warp of woe
In the woof of things from terminal snow to snow,
And he sank on the grass of the earth as a lark on its nest,
And he lay in the midst of the way from the east to the west.
Then the East came out from the east and the West from the west,
And, behold! in the gravid deeps of the lower dark,
While, above, the wind was fanning the dawn as a spark,
The East and the West took form as the wings of a lark.
One wing was feathered with facts of the uttermost Past,
And one with the dreams of a prophet; and both sailed fast
And met where the sorrowful Soul on the earth was cast.
Then a Voice said: `Thine, if thou lovest enough to use;'
But another: `To fly and to sing is pain: refuse!'
Then the Soul said: `Come, O my wings! I cannot but choose.'
And the Soul was a-tremble like as a new-born thing,
Till the spark of the dawn wrought a conscience in heart as in wing,
Saying, `Thou art the lark of the dawn; it is time to sing.'
Then that artist began in a lark's low circling to pass;
And first he sang at the height of the top of the grass
A song of the herds that are born and die in the mass.
And next he sang a celestial-passionate round
At the height of the lips of a woman above the ground,
How `Love was a fair true Lady, and Death a wild hound,
And she called, and he licked her hand and with girdle was bound.'
And then with a universe-love he was hot in the wings,
And the sun stretched beams to the worlds as the shining strings
Of the large hid harp that sounds when an all-lover sings;
And the sky's blue traction prevailed o'er the earth's in might,
And the passion of flight grew mad with the glory of height
And the uttering of song was like to the giving of light;
And he learned that hearing and seeing wrought nothing alone,
And that music on earth much light upon Heaven had thrown,
And he melted-in silvery sunshine with silvery tone;
And the spirals of music e'er higher and higher he wound
Till the luminous cinctures of melody up from the ground
Arose as the shaft of a tapering tower of sound --
Arose for an unstricken full-finished Babel of sound.
But God was not angry, nor ever confused his tongue,
For not out of selfish nor impudent travail was wrung
The song of all men and all things that the all-lover sung.
Then he paused at the top of his tower of song on high,
And the voice of the God of the artist from far in the sky
Said, `Son, look down: I will cause that a Time gone by
Shall pass, and reveal his heart to thy loving eye.'
Far spread, below,
The sea that fast hath locked in his loose flow
All secrets of Atlantis' drowned woe
Lay bound about with night on every hand,
Save down the eastern brink a shining band
Of day made out a little way from land.
Then from that shore the wind upbore a cry:
`Thou Sea, thou Sea of Darkness! why, oh why
Dost waste thy West in unthrift mystery?'
But ever the idiot sea-mouths foam and fill,
And never a wave doth good for man or ill,
And Blank is king, and Nothing hath his will;
And like as grim-beaked pelicans level file
Across the sunset toward their nightly isle
On solemn wings that wave but seldomwhile,
So leanly sails the day behind the day
To where the Past's lone Rock o'erglooms the spray,
And down its mortal fissures sinks away.
Master, Master, break this ban:
The wave lacks Thee.
Oh, is it not to widen man
Stretches the sea?
Oh, must the sea-bird's idle van
Alone be free?
Into the Sea of the Dark doth creep
Bjoerne's pallid sail,
As the face of a walker in his sleep,
Set rigid and most pale,
About the night doth peer and peep
In a dream of an ancient tale.
Lo, here is made a hasty cry:
`Land, land, upon the west! --
God save such land! Go by, go by:
Here may no mortal rest,
Where this waste hell of slate doth lie
And grind the glacier's breast.'
The sail goeth limp: hey, flap and strain!
Round eastward slanteth the mast;
As the sleep-walker waked with pain,
White-clothed in the midnight blast,
Doth stare and quake, and stride again
To houseward all aghast.
Yet as, `A ghost!' his household cry:
`He hath followed a ghost in flight.
Let us see the ghost' -- his household fly
With lamps to search the night --
So Norsemen's sails run out and try
The Sea of the Dark with light.
Stout Are Marson, southward whirled
From out the tempest's hand,
Doth skip the sloping of the world
Where Georgia's oaks with moss-beards curled
Wave by the shining strand,
And sway in sighs from Florida's Spring
Or Carolina's Palm --
What time the mocking-bird doth bring
The woods his artist's-balm,
Singing the Song of Everything
Consummate-sweet and calm --
Land of large merciful-hearted skies,
Big bounties, rich increase,
Green rests for Trade's blood-shotten eyes,
For o'er-beat brains surcease,
For Love the dear woods' sympathies,
For Grief the wise woods' peace,
For Need rich givings of hid powers
In hills and vales quick-won,
For Greed large exemplary flowers
That ne'er have toiled nor spun,
For Heat fair-tempered winds and showers,
For Cold the neighbor sun.
Land where the Spirits of June-Heat
From out their forest-maze
Stray forth at eve with loitering feet,
And fervent hymns upraise
In bland accord and passion sweet
Along the Southern ways: --
"O Darkness, tawny Twin whose Twin hath ceased,
Thou Odor from the day-flower's crushing born,
Thou visible Sigh out of the mournful East,
That cannot see her lord again till morn:
O Leaves, with hollow palms uplifted high
To catch the stars' most sacred rain of light:
O pallid Lily-petals fain to die
Soul-stung by subtle passion of the night:
O short-breath'd Winds beneath the gracious moon
Running mild errands for mild violets,
Or carrying sighs from the red lips of June
What wavering way the odor-current sets:
O Stars wreathed vinewise round yon heavenly dells,
Or thrust from out the sky in curving sprays,
Or whorled, or looped with pendent flower-bells,
Or bramble-tangled in a brilliant maze,
Or lying like young lilies in a lake
About the great white Lily of the moon,
Or drifting white from where in heaven shake
Star-portraitures of apple trees in June,
Or lapp'd as leaves of a great rose of stars,
Or shyly clambering up cloud-lattices,
Or trampled pale in the red path of Mars,
Or trim-set quaint in gardeners'-fantasies:
O long June Night-sounds crooned among the leaves;
O whispered confidence of Dark and Green;
O murmurs in old moss about old eaves;
O tinklings floating over water-sheen."
Then Leif, bold son of Eric the Red,
To the South of the West doth flee --
Past slaty Helluland is sped,
Past Markland's woody lea,
Till round about fair Vinland's head,
Where Taunton helps the sea,
The Norseman calls, the anchor falls,
The mariners hurry a-strand:
They wassail with fore-drunken skals
Where prophet wild grapes stand;
They lift the Leifsbooth's hasty walls
They stride about the land --
New England, thee! whose ne'er-spent wine
As blood doth stretch each vein,
And urge thee, sinewed like thy vine,
Through peril and all pain
To grasp Endeavor's towering Pine,
And, once ahold, remain --
Land where the strenuous-handed Wind
With sarcasm of a friend
Doth smite the man would lag behind
To frontward of his end;
Yea, where the taunting fall and grind
Of Nature's Ill doth send
Such mortal challenge of a clown
Rude-thrust upon the soul,
That men but smile where mountains frown
Or scowling waters roll,
And Nature's front of battle down
Do hurl from pole to pole.
Now long the Sea of Darkness glimmers low
With sails from Northland flickering to and fro --
Thorwald, Karlsefne, and those twin heirs of woe,
Hellboge and Finnge, in treasonable bed
Slain by the ill-born child of Eric Red,
Freydisa false. Till, as much time is fled,
Once more the vacant airs with darkness fill,
Once more the wave doth never good nor ill,
And Blank is king, and Nothing works his will;
And leanly sails the day behind the day
To where the Past's lone Rock o'erglooms the spray,
And down its mortal fissures sinks away,
As when the grim-beaked pelicans level file
Across the sunset to their seaward isle
On solemn wings that wave but seldomwhile.
Master, Master, poets sing;
The Time calls Thee;
Yon Sea binds hard on everything
Man longs to be:
Oh, shall the sea-bird's aimless wing
Alone move free?
`Santa Maria', well thou tremblest down the wave,
Thy `Pinta' far abow, thy `Nina' nigh astern:
Columbus stands in the night alone, and, passing grave,
Yearns o'er the sea as tones o'er under-silence yearn.
Heartens his heart as friend befriends his friend less brave,
Makes burn the faiths that cool, and cools the doubts that burn: --
"'Twixt this and dawn, three hours my soul will smite
With prickly seconds, or less tolerably
With dull-blade minutes flatwise slapping me.
Wait, Heart! Time moves. -- Thou lithe young Western Night,
Just-crowned king, slow riding to thy right,
Would God that I might straddle mutiny
Calm as thou sitt'st yon never-managed sea,
Balk'st with his balking, fliest with his flight,
Giv'st supple to his rearings and his falls,
Nor dropp'st one coronal star about thy brow
Whilst ever dayward thou art steadfast drawn!
Yea, would I rode these mad contentious brawls
No damage taking from their If and How,
Nor no result save galloping to my Dawn!
"My Dawn? my Dawn? How if it never break?
How if this West by other Wests is pieced,
And these by vacant Wests on Wests increased --
One Pain of Space, with hollow ache on ache
Throbbing and ceasing not for Christ's own sake? --
Big perilous theorem, hard for king and priest:
`Pursue the West but long enough, 'tis East!'
Oh, if this watery world no turning take!
Oh, if for all my logic, all my dreams,
Provings of that which is by that which seems,
Fears, hopes, chills, heats, hastes, patiences, droughts, tears,
Wife-grievings, slights on love, embezzled years,
Hates, treaties, scorns, upliftings, loss and gain, --
This earth, no sphere, be all one sickening plane!
"Or, haply, how if this contrarious West,
That me by turns hath starved, by turns hath fed,
Embraced, disgraced, beat back, solicited,
Have no fixed heart of Law within his breast,
Or with some different rhythm doth e'er contest
Nature in the East? Why, 'tis but three weeks fled
I saw my Judas needle shake his head
And flout the Pole that, east, he Lord confessed!
God! if this West should own some other Pole,
And with his tangled ways perplex my soul
Until the maze grow mortal, and I die
Where distraught Nature clean hath gone astray,
On earth some other wit than Time's at play,
Some other God than mine above the sky!
"Now speaks mine other heart with cheerier seeming:
`Ho, Admiral! o'er-defalking to thy crew
Against thyself, thyself far overfew
To front yon multitudes of rebel scheming?'
Come, ye wild twenty years of heavenly dreaming!
Come, ye wild weeks since first this canvas drew
Out of vexed Palos ere the dawn was blue,
O'er milky waves about the bows full-creaming!
Come set me round with many faithful spears
Of confident remembrance -- how I crushed
Cat-lived rebellions, pitfalled treasons, hushed
Scared husbands' heart-break cries on distant wives,
Made cowards blush at whining for their lives,
Watered my parching souls, and dried their tears.
"Ere we Gomera cleared, a coward cried,
`Turn, turn: here be three caravels ahead,
From Portugal, to take us: we are dead!'
`Hold Westward, pilot,' calmly I replied.
So when the last land down the horizon died,
`Go back, go back!' they prayed: `our hearts are lead.' --
`Friends, we are bound into the West,' I said.
Then passed the wreck of a mast upon our side.
`See' (so they wept) `God's Warning! Admiral, turn!' --
`Steersman,' I said, `hold straight into the West.'
Then down the night we saw the meteor burn.
`So do the very heavens in fire protest:
Good Admiral, put about! O Spain, dear Spain!' --
`Hold straight into the West,' I said again.
"Next drive we o'er the slimy-weeded sea.
`Lo! herebeneath' (another coward cries)
`The cursed land of sunk Atlantis lies:
This slime will suck us down -- turn while thou'rt free!' --
`But no!' I said, `Freedom bears West for me!'
Yet when the long-time stagnant winds arise,
And day by day the keel to westward flies,
My Good my people's Ill doth come to be:
`Ever the winds into the West do blow;
Never a ship, once turned, might homeward go;
Meanwhile we speed into the lonesome main.
For Christ's sake, parley, Admiral! Turn, before
We sail outside all bounds of help from pain!' --
`Our help is in the West,' I said once more.
"So when there came a mighty cry of `Land!'
And we clomb up and saw, and shouted strong
`Salve Regina!' all the ropes along,
But knew at morn how that a counterfeit band
Of level clouds had aped a silver strand;
So when we heard the orchard-bird's small song,
And all the people cried, `A hellish throng
To tempt us onward by the Devil planned,
Yea, all from hell -- keen heron, fresh green weeds,
Pelican, tunny-fish, fair tapering reeds,
Lie-telling lands that ever shine and die
In clouds of nothing round the empty sky.
Tired Admiral, get thee from this hell, and rest!' --
`Steersman,' I said, `hold straight into the West.'
"I marvel how mine eye, ranging the Night,
From its big circling ever absently
Returns, thou large low Star, to fix on thee.
`Maria!' Star? No star: a Light, a Light!
Wouldst leap ashore, Heart? Yonder burns -- a Light.
Pedro Gutierrez, wake! come up to me.
I prithee stand and gaze about the sea:
What seest? `Admiral, like as land -- a Light!'
Well! Sanchez of Segovia, come and try:
What seest? `Admiral, naught but sea and sky!'
Well! But *I* saw It. Wait! the Pinta's gun!
Why, look, 'tis dawn, the land is clear: 'tis done!
Two dawns do break at once from Time's full hand --
God's, East -- mine, West: good friends, behold my Land!"
Master, Master! faster fly
Now the hurrying seasons by;
Now the Sea of Darkness wide
Rolls in light from side to side;
Mark, slow drifting to the West
Down the trough and up the crest,
Yonder piteous heartsease petal
Many-motioned rise and settle --
Petal cast a-sea from land
By the awkward-fingered Hand
That, mistaking Nature's course,
Tears the love it fain would force --
Petal calm of heartsease flower
Smiling sweet on tempest sour,
Smiling where by crest and trough
Heartache Winds at heartsease scoff,
Breathing mild perfumes of prayer
'Twixt the scolding sea and air.
Mayflower, piteous Heartsease Petal!
Suavely down the sea-troughs settle,
Gravely breathe perfumes of prayer
'Twixt the scolding sea and air,
Bravely up the sea-hills rise --
Sea-hills slant thee toward the skies.
Master, hold disaster off
From the crest and from the trough;
Heartsease, on the heartache sea
God, thy God, will pilot thee.
Mayflower, Ship of Faith's best Hope!
Thou art sure if all men grope;
Mayflower, Ship of Hope's best Faith!
All is true the great God saith;
Mayflower, Ship of Charity!
Love is Lord of land and sea.
Oh, with love and love's best care
Thy large godly freightage bear --
Godly Hearts that, Grails of gold,
Still the blood of Faith do hold.
Now bold Massachusetts clear
Cuts the rounding of the sphere.
`Out the anchor, sail no more,
Lay us by the Future's shore --
Not the shore we sought, 'tis true,
But the time is come to do.
Leap, dear Standish, leap and wade;
Bradford, Hopkins, Tilley, wade:
Leap and wade ashore and kneel --
God be praised that steered the keel!
Home is good and soft is rest,
Even in this jagged West:
Freedom lives, and Right shall stand;
Blood of Faith is in the land.'
Then in what time the primal icy years
Scraped slowly o'er the Puritans' hopes and fears,
Like as great glaciers built of frozen tears,
The Voice from far within the secret sky
Said, `Blood of Faith ye have? So; let us try.'
The anxious-masted ships that westward fare,
Cargo'd with trouble and a-list with care,
Their outraged decks hot back to England bear,
Then come again with stowage of worse weight,
Battle, and tyrannous Tax, and Wrong, and Hate,
And all bad items of Death's perilous freight.
O'er Cambridge set the yeomen's mark:
Climb, patriot, through the April dark.
O lanthorn! kindle fast thy light,
Thou budding star in the April night,
For never a star more news hath told,
Or later flame in heaven shall hold.
Ay, lanthorn on the North Church tower,
When that thy church hath had her hour,
Still from the top of Reverence high
Shalt thou illume Fame's ampler sky;
For, statured large o'er town and tree,
Time's tallest Figure stands by thee,
And, dim as now thy wick may shine
The Future lights his lamp at thine.
Now haste thee while the way is clear,
Haste, Dawes! but haste thou not, O Sun!
Then Devens looked and saw the light:
He got him forth into the night,
And watched alone on the river-shore,
And marked the British ferrying o'er.
John Parker! rub thine eyes and yawn:
But one o'clock and yet 'tis Dawn!
Quick, rub thine eyes and draw thy hose:
The Morning comes ere darkness goes.
Have forth and call the yeomen out,
For somewhere, somewhere close about
Full soon a Thing must come to be
Thine honest eyes shall stare to see --
Full soon before thy patriot eyes
Freedom from out of a Wound shall rise.
Then haste ye, Prescott and Revere!
Bring all the men of Lincoln here;
Let Chelmsford, Littleton, Carlisle,
Let Acton, Bedford, hither file --
Oh hither file, and plainly see
Out of a wound leap Liberty.
Say, Woodman April! all in green,
Say, Robin April! hast thou seen
In all thy travel round the earth
Ever a morn of calmer birth?
But Morning's eye alone serene
Can gaze across yon village-green
To where the trooping British run
Good men in fustian, stand ye still;
The men in red come o'er the hill.
`Lay down your arms, damned Rebels!' cry
The men in red full haughtily.
But never a grounding gun is heard;
The men in fustian stand unstirred;
Dead calm, save maybe a wise bluebird
Puts in his little heavenly word.
O men in red! if ye but knew
The half as much as bluebirds do,
Now in this little tender calm
Each hand would out, and every palm
With patriot palm strike brotherhood's stroke
Or ere these lines of battle broke.
O men in red! if ye but knew
The least of the all that bluebirds do,
Now in this little godly calm
Yon voice might sing the Future's Psalm --
The Psalm of Love with the brotherly eyes
Who pardons and is very wise --
Yon voice that shouts, high-hoarse with ire,
The red-coats fire, the homespuns fall:
The homespuns' anxious voices call,
`Brother, art hurt?' and `Where hit, John?'
And, `Wipe this blood,' and `Men, come on,'
And, `Neighbor, do but lift my head,'
And `Who is wounded? Who is dead?'
`Seven are killed.' `My God! my God!'
`Seven lie dead on the village sod.
Two Harringtons, Parker, Hadley, Brown,
Monroe and Porter, -- these are down.'
`Nay, look! Stout Harrington not yet dead!'
He crooks his elbow, lifts his head.
He lies at the step of his own house-door;
He crawls and makes a path of gore.
The wife from the window hath seen, and rushed;
He hath reached the step, but the blood hath gushed;
He hath crawled to the step of his own house-door,
But his head hath dropped: he will crawl no more.
Clasp, Wife, and kiss, and lift the head:
Harrington lies at his doorstep dead.
But, O ye Six that round him lay
And bloodied up that April day!
As Harrington fell, ye likewise fell --
At the door of the House wherein ye dwell;
As Harrington came, ye likewise came
And died at the door of your House of Fame.
Go by, old Field of Freedom's hopes and fears;
Go by, old Field of Brothers' hate and tears:
Behold! yon home of Brothers' Love appears
Set in the burnished silver of July,
On Schuylkill wrought as in old broidery
Clasped hands upon a shining baldric lie,
New Hampshire, Georgia, and the mighty ten
That lie between, have heard the huge-nibbed pen
Of Jefferson tell the rights of man to men.
They sit in the reverend Hall: `Shall we declare?'
Floats round about the anxious-quivering air
'Twixt narrow Schuylkill and broad Delaware.
Already, Land! thou HAST declared: 'tis done.
Ran ever clearer speech than that did run
When the sweet Seven died at Lexington?
Canst legibler write than Concord's large-stroked Act,
Or when at Bunker Hill the clubbed guns cracked?
Hast ink more true than blood, or pen than fact?
Nay, as the poet mad with heavenly fires
Flings men his song white-hot, then back retires,
Cools heart, broods o'er the song again, inquires,
`Why did I this, why that?' and slowly draws
From Art's unconscious act Art's conscious laws;
So, Freedom, writ, declares her writing's cause.
All question vain, all chill foreboding vain.
Adams, ablaze with faith, is hot and fain;
And he, straight-fibred Soul of mighty grain,
Deep-rooted Washington, afire, serene --
Tall Bush that burns, yet keeps its substance green --
Sends daily word, of import calm yet keen,
Warm from the front of battle, till the fire
Wraps opposition in and flames yet higher,
And Doubt's thin tissues flash where Hope's aspire;
And, `Ay, declare,' and ever strenuous `Ay'
Falls from the Twelve, and Time and Nature cry
Consent with kindred burnings of July;
And delegate Dead from each past age and race,
Viewless to man, in large procession pace
Downward athwart each set and steadfast face,
Responding `Ay' in many tongues; and lo!
Manhood and Faith and Self and Love and Woe
And Art and Brotherhood and Learning go
Rearward the files of dead, and softly say
Their saintly `Ay', and softly pass away
By airy exits of that ample day.
Now fall the chill reactionary snows
Of man's defect, and every wind that blows
Keeps back the Spring of Freedom's perfect Rose.
Now naked feet with crimson fleck the ways,
And Heaven is stained with flags that mutinies raise,
And Arnold-spotted move the creeping days.
Long do the eyes that look from Heaven see
Time smoke, as in the spring the mulberry tree,
With buds of battles opening fitfully,
Till Yorktown's winking vapors slowly fade,
And Time's full top casts down a pleasant shade
Where Freedom lies unarmed and unafraid.
Master, ever faster fly
Now the vivid seasons by;
Now the glittering Western land
Twins the day-lit Eastern Strand;
Now white Freedom's sea-bird wing
Roams the Sea of Everything;
Now the freemen to and fro
Bind the tyrant sand and snow,
Snatching Death's hot bolt ere hurled,
Flash new Life about the world,
Sun the secrets of the hills,
Shame the gods' slow-grinding mills,
Prison Yesterday in Print,
Read To-morrow's weather-hint,
Haste before the halting Time,
Try new virtue and new crime,
Mould new faiths, devise new creeds,
Run each road that frontward leads,
Driven by an Onward-ache,
Scorning souls that circles make.
Now, O Sin! O Love's lost Shame!
Burns the land with redder flame:
North in line and South in line
Yell the charge and spring the mine.
Heartstrong South would have his way,
Headstrong North hath said him nay:
O strong Heart, strong Brain, beware!
Hear a Song from out the air:
"Lists all white and blue in the skies;
And the people hurried amain
To the Tournament under the ladies' eyes
Where jousted Heart and Brain.
"`Blow, herald, blow!' There entered Heart,
A youth in crimson and gold.
`Blow, herald, blow!' Brain stood apart,
Steel-armored, glittering, cold.
"Heart's palfrey caracoled gayly round,
Heart tra-li-raed merrily;
But Brain sat still, with never a sound --
Full cynical-calm was he.
"Heart's helmet-crest bore favors three
From his lady's white hand caught;
Brain's casque was bare as Fact -- not he
Or favor gave or sought.
"`Blow, herald, blow!' Heart shot a glance
To catch his lady's eye;
But Brain looked straight a-front, his lance
To aim more faithfully.
"They charged, they struck; both fell, both bled;
Brain rose again, ungloved;
Heart fainting smiled, and softly said,
`My love to my Beloved.'"
Heart and Brain! no more be twain;
Throb and think, one flesh again!
Lo! they weep, they turn, they run;
Lo! they kiss: Love, thou art one!
Now the Land, with drying tears,
Counts him up his flocks of years,
"See," he says, "my substance grows;
Hundred-flocked my Herdsman goes,
Hundred-flocked my Herdsman stands
On the Past's broad meadow-lands,
Come from where ye mildly graze,
Black herds, white herds, nights and days.
Drive them homeward, Herdsman Time,
From the meadows of the Prime:
I will feast my house, and rest.
Neighbor East, come over West;
Pledge me in good wine and words
While I count my hundred herds,
Sum the substance of my Past
From the first unto the last,
Chanting o'er the generous brim
Cloudy memories yet more dim,
Ghostly rhymes of Norsemen pale
Staring by old Bjoerne's sail,
Strains more noble of that night
Worn Columbus saw his Light,
Psalms of still more heavenly tone,
How the Mayflower tossed alone,
Olden tale and later song
Of the Patriot's love and wrong,
Grandsire's ballad, nurse's hymn --
Chanting o'er the sparkling brim
Till I shall from first to last
Sum the substance of my Past."
Then called the Artist's God from in the sky:
"This Time shall show by dream and mystery
The heart of all his matter to thine eye.
Son, study stars by looking down in streams,
Interpret that which is by that which seems,
And tell thy dreams in words which are but dreams."
The Master with His lucent hand
Pinched up the atom hills and plains
O'er all the moiety of land
The ocean-bounded West contains:
The dust lay dead upon the calm
And mighty middle of His palm.
And lo! He wrought full tenderly,
And lo! He wrought with love and might,
And lo! He wrought a thing to see
Was marvel in His people's sight:
He wrought His image dead and small,
A nothing fashioned like an All.
Then breathed He softly on the dead:
"Live Self! -- thou part, yet none, of Me;
Dust for humility," He said,
"And my warm breath for Charity.
Behold my latest work, thou Earth!
The Self of Man is taking birth."
Then, Land, tall Adam of the West,
Thou stood'st upon the springy sod,
Thy large eye ranging self-possest,
Thy limbs the limbs of God's young god,
Thy Passion murmuring `I will' --
Lord of the Lordship Good-and-Ill.
O manful arms, of supple size
To clasp a world or a waist as well!
O manful eyes, to front the skies
Or look much pity down on hell!
O manful tongue, to work and sing,
And soothe a child and dare a king!
O wonder! Now thou sleep'st in pain,
Like as some dream thy soul did grieve:
God wounds thee, heals thee whole again,
And calls thee trembling to thine Eve.
Wide-armed, thou dropp'st on knightly knee:
`Dear Love, Dear Freedom, go with me!'
Then all the beasts before thee passed --
Beast War, Oppression, Murder, Lust,
False Art, False Faith, slow skulking last --
And out of Time's thick-rising dust
Thy Lord said, "Name them, tame them, Son;
Nor rest, nor rest, till thou hast done."
Ah, name thou false, or tame thou wrong,
At heart let no man fear for thee:
Thy Past sings ever Freedom's Song,
Thy Future's voice sounds wondrous free;
And Freedom is more large than Crime,
And Error is more small than Time.
Come, thou whole Self of Latter Man!
Come o'er thy realm of Good-and-Ill,
And do, thou Self that say'st `I can,'
And love, thou Self that say'st `I will;'
And prove and know Time's worst and best,
Thou tall young Adam of the West!