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Yes, in some far-shining sphere, Conscious or not of the past, Still thou performest the word Of the Spirit in whom thou dost live, Prompt, unwearied, as here. Still thou upraisest with zeal The humble good from the ground, Sternly repressest the bad; Still, like a trumpet, dost rouse Those who with balf-open eyes Tread the border-land dim 'Twixt vice and virtue; reviv'st, Succorest. This was thy work, This was thy life upon earth.
Path of advance; but it leads
A long, steep journey, through sunk
Gorges, o'er mountains in snow.
Cheerful, with friends, we set forth:
Then, on the height, comes the storm. 90
Thunder crashes from rock
To rock; the cataracts reply;
Ligbtnings dazzle our eyes;
Roaring torrents have breached
The track; the stream-bed descends
In the place where the wayfarer once
Planted his footstep; the spray
Boils o'er its borders; aloft,
The unseen snow-beds dislodge
Their hanging ruin. Alas!
Havoc is made in our train!
Friends who set forth at our side
Falter, are lost in the storm.
We, we only are left!
With frowning foreheads, with lips
Sternly compressed, we strain on,
On; and at nightfall at last
Come to the end of our way,
To the lonely inn 'mid the rocks;
Where the gaunt and taciturn host 110
Stands on the threshold, the wind
Shaking his thin white hairs,
Holds his lantern to scan
Our storm-beat figures, and asks, -
Whom in our party we bring ?
Whom we have left in the snow?
What is the course of the life
Of mortal men on the earth ?
Most men eddy about
Here and there, eat and drink,
Chatter and love and hate,
Gather and squander, are raised
Aloft, are hurled in the dust,
Striving blindly, achieving
Nothing; and then they die,
Perish; and no one asks
Who or what they have been,
More than he asks what waves,
In the moonlit solitudes mild
Of the midmost ocean, bave swelled,
Foamed for a moment, and gone.
And there are some whom a thirst Ardent, unquenchable, fires, Not with the crowd to be spent, Not without aim to go round In an eddy of purposeless dust, Effort unmeaning and vain. Ah yes! some of us strive Not without action to die Fruitless, but something to snatch From dull oblivion, nor all Glut the devouring grave. We, we have chosen our path, Path to a clear-purposed goal,
But thou wouldst not alone
Be saved, my father! alone
Conquer and come to thy goal,
Leaving the rest in the wild.
We were weary, and we
Fearful, and we in our march
Fain to drop down and to die.
Still thou turnedst, and still
Beckonedst the trembler, and still
Gavest the weary thy hand.
If, in the paths of the world,
Stones might have wounded thy feet,
Toil or dejection have tried
Thy spirit, of that we saw
Nothing: to us thou wast still
Cheerful, and helpful, and firm!
Therefore to thee it was given
Many to save with thyself;
And, at the end of thy day,
O faithful shepherd ! to come,
Bringing thy sheep in thy hand.
And through thee I believe
In the noble and great who are gone;
Pure souls honored and blest
By former ages, who else
Such, so soulless, so poor,
Is the race of men whom I see -
Seemed but a dream of the beart,
Seemed but a cry of desire.
Yes! I believe that there lived
Others like thee in the past,
Not like the men of the crowd
Who all round me to-day
Bluster or cringe, and make life
Hideous and arid and vile;
But souls tempered with fire,
Fervent, heroic, and good,
Helpers and friends of mankind.
Ye like angels appear, Radiant with ardor divine. Beacons of hope, ye appear! Languor is not in your heart, Weakness is not in your word, Weariness not on your brow. Ye alight in our van! at your voice, Panic, despair, flee away. Ye move through the ranks, recall The stragglers, refresh the outworn, Praise, re-inspire the brave. Order, courage, return; Eyes rekindling, and prayers, Follow your steps as ye go. Ye fill up the gaps in our files, Strengthen the wavering line, Stablish, continue our march, On, to the bound of the waste, On, to the City of God.
STANZAS FROM THE GRANDE CHARTREUSE
THROUGH Alpine meadows soft-suffused
With rain, where thick the crocus blows,
Past the dark forges long disused,
The mule-track from Saint Laurent goes.
The bridge is crossed, and slow we ride,
Through forest, up the mountain side.
Servants of God! - or sons
Shall I not call you ? because
Not as servants ye knew
Your Father's innermost mind,
His who unwillingly sees
One of his little ones lost, -
Yours is the praise, if mankind
Hath not as yet in its march
Fainted and fallen and died.
See! In the rocks of the world
Marches the host of mankind,
A feeble, wavering line.
Where are they tending? A God
Marshalled them, gave them their goal.
Ah, but the way is so long!
Years they have been in the wild:
Sore thirst plagues them; the rocks,
Rising all around, overawe;
Factions divide them; their host
Threatens to break, to dissolve.
Ah! keep, keep them combined !
Else, of the myriads who fill
That army, not one shall arrive;
Sole they shall stray; on the rocks
Batter forever in vain,
Die one by one in the waste.
The autumnal evening darkens round,
The wind is up, and drives the rain;
While, hark! far down, with strangled
sound Doth the Dead Guier's stream complain, 10 | Where that wet smoke, among the woods, Over his boiling caldron broods.
Swift rush the spectral vapors white
Past limestone scars with ragged pines,
Showing — then blotting from our sight !-
Halt - through the cloud-drift something
High in the valley, wet and drear,
The huts of Courrerie appear.
Strike leftward ! cries our guide; and higher
Mounts up the stony forest-way.
20 At last the encircling trees retire; Look ! through the showery twilight gray, What pointed roofs are these advance ? | A palace of the kings of France ?
Then, in such hour of need
Of your fainting, dispirited race,
Approach, for what we seek is here! Forgive me, masters of the mind !
Alight, and sparely sup, and wait
At whose behest I long ago
For rest in this outbuilding near;
So much unlearned, so much resigned: Then cross the sward, and reach that gate; | I come not here to be your foe! Knock; pass the wicket. Thou art come I seek these anchorites, not in ruth, To the Carthusians' world-famed home. 30 To curse and to deny your truth;
The silent courts, where night and day Not as their friend, or child, I speak! Into their stone-carved basins cold
But as, on some far northern strand, 80 The splashing icy fountains play,
Thinking of his own Gods, a Greek The humid corridors behold,
In pity and mournful awe might stand Where, ghost-like in the deepening night, Before some fallen Runic stone; Cowled forms brush by in gleaming white! | For both were faiths, and both are gone.
By the margin, willow-veil'd,
Slide the beavy barges trail'd
By slow horses; and unhail'd
The sballop flitteth silken-sail'd
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand ?
Or at the casement seen her stand ?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott ?
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror's magic sights,
For often thro' the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights
And music, went to Camelot;
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed: 70
“I am half sick of shadows,' said
The Lady of Shalott.
PART III A bow-shot from her bower-eaves, He rode between the barley-sheaves, The sun came dazzling thro' the leaves, And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot. A red-cross knight for ever kneel'd To a lady in his shield, That sparkled on the yellow field, 80
Beside remote Shalott.