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To-morrow (who can say) Shakespeare may pass,—

And our lost friend just catch one syllable
Of that three-centuried wit that kept so well,-
Or Milton, or Dante, looking on the grass

Thinking of Beatrice, and listening still

To chanted hymns that sound from the heavenly hill."

THE CELESTIAL PASSION.

O white and midnight sky, O starry bath,

Wash me in thy pure, heavenly, crystal flood:
Cleanse me, ye stars, from earthly soil and scath-
Let not one taint remain in spirit or blood!
Receive my soul, ye burning, awful deeps,

Touch and baptize me with the mighty power
That in ye thrills, while the dark planet sleeps;
Make me all thine for one blest, secret hour!
O glittering host, O high angelic choir,

Silence each tone that with thy music jars;
Fill me even as an urn with thy white fire
Till all I am is kindred to the stars!
Make me thy child, thou infinite, holy night,
So shall my days be full of heavenly light.

HYMN.

SUNG AT THE PRESENTATION OF THE OBELISK TO THE

CITY OF NEW YORK, FEBRUARY 22, 1881.

I.

Great God, to whom since time began

The world has prayed and striven;
Maker of stars, and earth, and man—
To Thee our praise is given.

Here, by this ancient Sign
Of Thine own Light divine,
We lift to Thee our eyes
Thou Dweller of the Skies,-
Hear us, O God in Heaven!

II.

Older than Nilus' mighty flood

Into the Mid-sea pouring,

Or than the sea, Thou God hast stood,— Thou God of our adoring!

Waters and stormy blast

Haste when Thou bid'st them haste;

Silent, and hid, and still,

Thou sendest good and ill:

Thy ways are past exploring.

III.

In myriad forms, by myriad names,

Men seek to bind and mould Thee; But Thou dost melt, like wax in flames, The cords that would enfold Thee. Who madest life and light,

Bring'st morning after night,

Who all things did'st create

No majesty, nor state,

Nor word, nor world, can hold Thee

IV.

Great God, to whom since time began
The world has prayed and striven;
Maker of stars, and earth, and man—
To Thee our praise is given.

Of suns Thou art the Sun,—
Eternal, holy One:

Who can us help save Thou!
To Thee alone we bow!

Hear us, O God in Heaven!

THE POET'S FAME.

Many the songs of power the poet wrought To shake the hearts of men. Yea, he had caught The inarticulate and murmuring sound

That comes at midnight from the darkened ground
When the earth sleeps; for this he framed a word
Of human speech, and hearts were strangely stirred
That listened. And for him the evening dew
Fell with a sound of music, and the blue

Of the deep, starry sky he had the art

To put in language that did seem a part

Of the great scope and progeny of nature.

In woods, or waves, or winds, there was no creature

Mysterious to him. He was too wise

Either to fear, or follow, or despise

Whom men call Science,-for he knew full well

All she had told, or still might live to tell,

Was known to him before her very birth:

Yea, that there was no secret of the earth,
Nor of the waters under, nor the skies,
That had been hidden from the poet's eyes;
By him there was no ocean unexplored,
Nor any savage coast that had not roared
Its music in his ears.

He loved the town,—

Not less he loved the ever-deepening brown
Of summer twilights on the enchanted hills;

Where he might listen to the starts and thrills
Of birds that sang and rustled in the trees,
Or watch the footsteps of the wandering breeze
And the birds' shadows as they fluttered by
Or slowly wheeled across the unclouded sky.

All these were written on the poet's soul,-
But he knew, too, the utmost, distant goal
Of the human mind. His fiery thought did run
To Time's beginning, ere yon central sun
Had warmed to life the swarming broods of men.
In waking dreams his many-visioned ken
Clutched the large, final destiny of things.
He heard the starry music, and the wings
Of beings unfelt by others thrilled the air
About him. Yet the loud and angry blare
Of tempests found an echo in his verse,
And it was here that lovers did rehearse

The ditties they would sing when, not too soon,
Came the warm night,-shadows, and stars, and moon.

Who heard his songs were filled with noble rage, And wars took fire from his prophetic page:

Most righteous wars, wherein, 'midst blood and tears,
The world rushed onward through a thousand years.
And still he made the gentle sounds of peace
Heroic,-bade the nation's anger cease!
Bitter his songs of grief for those who fell-
And for all this the people loved him well.

They loved him well, and therefore, on a day,
They said with one accord: “Behold how gray
Our poet's head hath grown! Ere 'tis too late
Come, let us crown him in our Hall of State:
Ring loud the bells, give to the winds his praise,
And urge his fame to other lands and days!"

So was it done, and deep his joy therein.

But passing home at night, from out the din

Of the loud Hall, the poet, unaware,

Moved through a lonely and dim-lighted square—
There was the smell of lilacs in the air

And then the sudden singing of a bird,

Startled by his slow tread. What memory stirred
Within his brain he told not. Yet this night-

Lone lingering when the eastern heavens were bright—
He wove a song of such immortal art

That there is not in all the world one heart

One human heart unmoved by it. Long! long!

The laurel-crown has failed, but not that song

Born of the night and sorrow.

Where he lies

At rest beneath the ever-shifting skies,

Age after age, from far-off lands they come,

With tears and flowers, to seek the poet's tomb.

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