The Third Day

Next day is storm'd. Awakening I gazed forth,
And saw a slanting wall of liquid gray
Shutting out park and pale, while overhead
The black clouds droop'd their banners drifting east;
Then gazing southward, through the mists I saw
The ghostly glimmer of the distant Ocean!
Desolate as a soul that leaps from heaven,
The wild rain flung itself into the sea,
And sobbing, choked and drown'd!
The day drew on.
Slowly at intervals, with dismal yawns,
The guests descended to the breakfast-rooms,
And afterwards they scatter'd hither and thither:
Some to the drawing-room to lounge and flirt,
Some to the billiard-room, whence soon there came
The light sharp rattle of the ivory ball;
Some to the library, others to the porch,
To lounge there, pipe in mouth, and watch the weather.
A few, with Sappho Syntax at their head,
Donned their goloshes and their waterproofs,
And faced the Storm; but many kept apart
Until the lunch-bell rang; then, luncheon o'er,
More straggling up and down from room to room,
Till, as the hum spreads through a throng of bees
That the queen bee is near, and straightway all
Throng to the honey'd centre of the hive,
The murmur spread that Barbara held her court
In the great drawing-room; whither hastening,
We found her, throned upon an ottoman,
Sparkle, high priest of Science, at her side,
And murmuring silken periods in her ear.

" Dreary indeed, flat, dreary and confined,
As this our Priory on a day of rain,
With walls of liquid black on every side,
Must the sad Earth have seemed ere Science rose
To tear the veil from Nature's face, and show
The wonders of the illimitable Void.
A thousand years after the birth of Christ,
Religion, like the Spirit of the Storm,
Obscured the open heaven, veiled land and tide,
And made Creation dark; and no man knew
The clime wherein he dwelt, or dared explore
His earthly habitation; but the tide
Of Superstition, like another Flood,
Submerged the landmarks, hid the continents,
And mingled black with the unpastured Sea.
Then, like a cumbrous Ark, the Church survived,
And resting on the Ararat of Rome,
Rock'd to the wash of waters — those within,
Arrayed in priestly raiment, crying aloud,
" Woe! woe to man! the Day of Doom is near! "
Honour to those who in that awful hour
Flew forth upon the waves like fearless doves,
And though the craven priests cried out " Beware! "
Faced the wild darkness and the winds of heaven,
Seeking for glimpses of the solid land!
Then some came circling back with wearied wings,
And many vanished never to return;
A few, the fleetest and most strong of flight,
Returning after many wanderings,
Brought with them, as the dove its olive branch,
Tidings of gladness and a sunlit world!"

Then murmured Leslie Lambe with kindling cheeks,
" Doves, say you? Doves? I" faith, it needed then
The eagle's pinion and the eagle's eye
To penetrate that melancholy waste.
Think of Magellan! what an eagle, he! —
The man of marble who in Hell's despite
Unto his lonely purpose held unmoved,
And sailing with unconquerable wing
Across that blackness, came at last in sight
Of a new Heaven sown with unknown stars,
And underneath, a new and wondrous World.
Stranger the problem he, the undaunted, solved
Than all your problems of a world to come.
Fie on your poets, fools of fantasy,
That never one hath sung that hero's praise!"

Then I remember'd an old Song o' the Sea
Put in the mouth of one who sailed the main
With that stern captain, and within his arms
Held him when, slain by poisonous darts, he died;
The words, the rhyme, kept time within my brain
Like wild sea-surges as the other spake;
And when, with eager glance around, he ceased,
I craved permission of our smiling Queen,
And having quickly gained it, thus began: —

THE VOYAGE OF MAGELLAN.

Send no shaven monks to shrive me, close the doors against their cries;
Liars all! ay, rogues and liars, like the Father of all lies;
Nay, but open wide the casement, once more let me feast my gaze
On the glittering signs of Heaven, on the mighty Ocean-ways!

Who's that knocking? Fra Ramiro? Left his wine-cup and arm-chair,
Come again with book and ointment, to anoint me and prepare?
Sacramento! — send him packing, with his comrades shaven-crown'd:
Liars all! and prince of liars is their Pope! The world is round!

See, the Ocean! like quicksilver, throbbing in the starry light!
See the stars and constellations, strangely, mystically bright!
Ah, but there, beyond our vision, other stars look brightly down,
Other stars, and high among them, great Magellan's starry crown!

O Magellan! lord and master! — mighty soul no Pope could tame!
On the seas and on the heavens you have left your radiant name;
Brightly shall it burn for ever, o'er the waters without bound,
Proving Pope and Priests still liars, while the sun-kist world is round.

Let the cowls at Salamanca cluster thick as rook and daw!
Let the Pope, with right hand palsied, clutch his thunderbolts of straw!
Heaven and Ocean, here and yonder, put their feeble dreams to shame;
Earth is round, and high above it shines Magellan's starry name!

Have you vanish'd, O my Master? O my Captain, King of men,
Shall I never more behold you standing at the mast again,
Eagle-eyed, and stern and silent, never sleeping or at rest,
Pallid as a man of marble, ever looking to the west?

As I lie and watch the heavens, once again I seem to be
Out upon the waste of waters, sailing on from sea to sea. . . .
Hark! what's that? — the monks intoning in the chapel close at hand?
Nay, I hear but sea-birds screaming, round dark capes of lonely land.

Out upon the still equator, on a sea without a breath,
Burning, blistering in the sunlight, we are tossing sick to death;
Every night the sun sinks crimson on the water's endless swell,
Every dawn he rises golden, fiery as the flames of Hell.

Seventy days our five brave vessels welter in the watery glare,
O'er the bulwarks hang the seamen panting open-mouth'd for air;
On the " Trinitie" Magellan watches in a fierce unrest,
Never doubting or despairing, ever looking to the west.

Then at last with fire and thunder open cracks the sultry sky,
While the surging seas roll under, swift before the blast we fly,
Westward, ever westward, plunging, while the waters wash and wail;
Nights and days drift past in darkness while we sail, and sail, and sail.

Then the Tempest, like an eagle by a thunderbolt struck dead,
With one last wild flap of pinions, droppeth spent and bloody-red,
Purpling Heaven and Ocean lieth on the dark horizon's brink,
While upon the decks we gather silently, and watch him sink.

Troublously the Ocean labours in a last surcease of pain,
While a soft breath blowing westward wafts us softly on the main, —
Nearer to the edge of darkness where the flat earth ends, men swear,
Where the dark abysses open, gulf on gulf of empty air!

Creeping silently our vessels enter wastes of wondrous weed,
Slimy growth that clings around them, tangle growing purple seed,
Staining all the waste of waters, making isles of floating black,
While the seamen, pointing fingers, shrink in dread, and cry, " Turn back!"

On the " Trinitie" Magellan stands and looks with fearless eyes —
" Fools, the world is round!" he answers, " onward still our pathway lies;
Though the gulfs of Hell yawn'd yonder, though the Earth were ended there,
I would venture boldly forward, facing Death and Death's despair."

On their knees they kneel unto him, cross themselves and shriek afraid,
Pallid as a man of marble stands the Captain undismayed,
Claps on sail and leads us onward, while the ships crawl in his track,
Slowly, scarcely moving, trailing monstrous weeds that hold them back.

On each vessel's prow a seaman stands and casts the sounding-lead,
In the cage high up the foremast gather watchers sick with dread.
Calmly on the poop Magellan marks the Heavens and marks the Sea,
Darkness round and darkness o'er him, closing round the " Trinitie."

Days and nights of deeper darkness follow — then there comes the cry,
" He is mad — Death waits before us — turn the ships and let us fly!"
Storm of mutinous anger gathers round the Captain stern and true,
Near the foremast, fiercely glaring, flash the faces of the crew.

One there is, a savage seaman, gnashing teeth and waving hands,
Strides with curses to the Captain where with folded arms he stands, —
" Turn, thou madman, turn!" he shrieketh — scarcely hath he spoke the word,
Ere a bleeding log he falleth, slaughter'd by the Leader's sword!

" Fools and cowards!" cries Magellan, spurning him with armed heel,
" If another dreams of flying, let him speak — and taste my steel!"
Like caged tigers when the Tamer enters calmly, shrink the band,
While the Master strides among them, cloth'd in mail and sword in hand.

O Magellan! lord and leader! — only He whose fingers frame
Twisted thews of pard or panther, knot them round their hearts of flame,
Light the emeralds burning brightly in their eyeballs as they roll,
Could have made that mightier marvel, thine inexorable soul!

Onward, ever on, we falter — till there comes a dawn of Day
Creeping ghostly up behind us, mirror'd faintly far away,
While across the seas to starboard loometh strangely land or cloud —
" Land to starboard!" cries Magellan — " Land!" the seamen call aloud.

Southward steering creep the vessels, while the lights of morning grow;
Fades the land, while in our faces chilly fog and vapour blow;
Colder grows the air, and clinging round the masts and stiffening sails
Freezes into crystal dewdrops, into hanging icicles!

Suddenly arise before us, phantom-wise, as in eclipse,
Icebergs drifting on the Ocean like innumerable ships —
In the light they flash prismatic as among their throng we creep,
Crashing down to overwhelm us, thundering to the thund'rous Deep!

Towering ghostly and gigantic, 'midst the steam of their own breath,
Moving northward in procession in their snowy shrouds of Death,
Rise the bergs, now overtoppling like great fountains in the air,
While along their crumbling edges slips the seal and steals the bear.

With the frost upon his armour, like a skeleton of steel,
Stands the Master, waiting, watching, clad in cold from head to heel;
Loud his voice rings through the vapours, ordering all and leading on,
Till the bergs, before his finger, fall back ghostlike, and are gone!

Once again before our vision sparkles Ocean wide and free,
With the sun's red ball of crimson resting on the rim of sea; —
" Lo, the sun!" he laughs exulting — " still he beckons far away —
Earth is round, and on its circle evermore we chase the Day!"

As he speaks the sunset blackens. Twilight trembles through the skies
For a moment — then the heavens open all their starry eyes!
Suddenly strange Constellations flash from out the fields of blue —
Not a star that we remember, not a splendour priestcraft knew!

Sinking on his knee, Magellan prays: " Now glory be to God!
To the Christ who led us forward on His wondrous watery road!
See, the heavens give attestation that our search shall yet be crowned,
Proving Pope and Priests still liars, and the sun-kist world is round!"

Sparkling ruby-ray'd and golden round the dusky neck of Night
Hangs the jewel'd Constellation, strangely, mystically bright —
Pointing at it cries the Master, " By the God we all adore,
It shall bear my name, M AGELLAN !" and it bears it, evermore.

Storms arising sweep us onward, but each night our courage grows,
Newer portals of the Heavens seem to open and enclose,
Showing in the blue abysm vistas luminously strange,
Sphere on sphere, and far beyond them fainter lights that sparkle and change!

Presently once more we falter among pools of drifting scum,
Weed and tangle — o'er the blackness curious sea-birds go and come —
While to southward looms a darkness, as of land or gathering cloud,
Northward too, another darkness, and a sound of breakers loud.

Once again they call in terror, " Turn again, for Death is near!
Once again he quells their tumult, smiting till they crouch in fear.
On the darkness closing round them, land or cloud, our fleet is led,
Fighting tides that sweep them backward, flowing from some gulf of dread.

Next, the Vision! next the Morning, after rayless nights and days,
Twinkling on a great calm Ocean stretching far as eye can gaze, —
Newer heavens and newer waters, solitary and profound,
Rise before us, while behind us Day arises crimson-crown'd!

Turning we behold the shadows of the straits through which we sped,
Then again our eyes look forward where the windless waters spread;
Overhead the sun rolls golden, moving westward through the blue,
Reddens down the far-off heavens, beckons bright, and we pursue.

On that vast and tranquil Ocean, folding wings the strong winds dwell,
Sleeping softly or just stirring to the water's tranquil swell,
Peaceful as the fields of heaven where the stars like bright flocks feed, —
So that many dream they wander thro' the azure Heaven indeed!

Then Magellan, from its scabbard drawing forth his shining sword,
Grasps the blade, and downward bending dips the bright hilt overboard —
" By the holy Cross's likeness, mirror'd in this hilt!" cries he,
" Be this Ocean called Pacific, since it sleeps eternallie!"

Pastured with a calm eternal, drawing down the clouds in dew,
Sighing low with soft pulsations, darkly, mystically blue,
Lies that long untrodden Ocean, while for months we sail it o'er;
Ever dawns the sun behind us, ever swiftly sets before.

But like devils out of Tophet, as we sail with God for Guide,
Rise the Spectres, Thirst and Hunger, hollow-cheek'd and cruel-eyed;
Fierce and famish'd creep the seamen, while the tongues between their teeth
Loll like tongues of hounds for water, dry as dust and black with death.

Many fall and die blaspheming, " Give us food!" the living call —
Pallid as a man of marble stands the Master gaunt and tall,
Hunger fierce within him also, and his parch'd lips prest in pain,
But a mightier thirst and hunger burning in his heart and brain!

Black decks blistering in the sunlight, sails and cordage dry as clay,
Crawl the ships on those still waters night by night and day by day;
Then the rain comes, and we lap it as upon the decks it flows —
" Spread a sail!" calls out the Master, and we catch it ere it goes.

Now and then a lonely sea-bird hovers far away, and we
Crouch with hungry eyes and watch it fluttering closer o'er the sea,
Curse it if it flies beyond us, shoot it if it cometh nigh,
Share the flesh and blood among us, underneath the Captain's eye.

Sometimes famish'd unto madness, fierce as wolves that shriek in strife,
One man springs upon another, stabs him with the murderous knife;
Then the Master, stalking forward where the murderer shrinks in dread,
Bids him kneel, and as he kneeleth cleaves him down, and leaves him dead.

O Magellan! mighty Eagle, circling sunward lost in light,
Wafting wings of power and striking meaner things that cross thy flight,
God to such as thee gives never lambkin's love or dove's desire —
Nay, but eyes that scatter terror from a ruthless heart of fire!

Give me wine. My pulses falter... So! ... Confusion to the cowls!
They who hooted at my Eagle, eyes of bats and heads of owls!
Throw the casement open wider! There is something yet to tell —
How we came at last to waters where the naked islesmen dwell.

Isles of wonder, fringed with coral, ring'd with shallows turquoise-blue,
Where bright fish and crimson monsters flash'd their jewel'd lights and flew,
Steeps of palm that rose to heaven out of purple depths of sea,
While upon their sunlit summits stirr'd the tufted cocoa-tree —

Isles of cinnabar and spices, where soft airs for ever creep,
Scenting Ocean all around them with strange odours soft as sleep —
Isles about whose promontories danced the black man's light canoe,
Isles where dark-eyed women beckon'd, perfumed like the breath they drew.

Drunken with the sight we landed, rush'd into the scented glades,
Treading down the scented branches, seized the struggling savage maids.
Ah, the orgy! Still it sickens! — blood of men bestrewed our path,
Till the islesmen rose against us, thick as vultures shrieking wrath.

Then, the sequel! Nay, I know not how the damnid deed could be —
By some islesman's poisoned arrow or some Spaniard's treacherie;
But one evening, as we struggled fighting to our boats on shore,
In the shallows fell the Captain, foully slain, and rose no more!

O Magellan! O my Master! O my Captain, King of men!
Was it fit thou so shouldst perish, though thy work was over then,
Foully slain by foe or comrade, butcher'd like a common thing,
Thou whose eagle flight had circled Earth upon undaunted wing!

Nay, but then my King had conquered! Earth and Ocean to his sight
Open'd had their wondrous visions, shaming centuries of night;
Nay, but even the shining Heavens kept the record of his fame —
Earth was round, and high above it shone Magellan's starry name.

How our wondrous voyage ended? Nay, I know not, — all was done;
Lying in my ship I sickened, moaning, hidden from the sun.
Yea! the vessels drifted onward till hey came to isles of calm,
Where some savage monarch hail'd them, standing underneath a palm.

How the wanderers took these islands tributary to our King,
Show'd the Cross, baptized the monarch, homeward crept on weary wing?
Pshaw, 'tis nothing! All was over! He had staked his soul and gained,
They but reaped the Master's sowing, they but crawl'd where he had reigned!

Hark! what sound is that? The chiming of the dreary vesper bell?
Nay, I hear but Ocean sighing, feel the waters heave and swell.
Earth is round, but sailing sunward with my Master still I fare —
Other Heavens his ship is searching, — and I go to seek him there!

The wall of darkness round the rainy house
Broke as I ended, and a watery beam
Of sunshine struck the pane, and lingering on it,
Became prismatic. Then with quiet smile
Professor Mors, the truculent Irishman,
Whose treatise on the origin of worlds
Fluttered the Churches for a season, said:
" Man conquers earth, and climbing yonder Heaven
Pursues the baleful gods from throne to throne!
Ah, but the strife was long, and even here
It hath not ended yet. Each Phantom laid,
Another rises, though on fearless wing
We creep from world to world. Evil abides,
And with her hideous mother, Ignorance,
Scatters pollution!"


Calmly answered him
Dan Paumanok, the Yankee pantheist:
" Friend, I have dwelt on earth as long as you,
And found all evil here but forms of good!"
Whereat some laughed, and cried, " A paradox!"
But, gravely leaning back in his arm-chair,
The greybeard cried, " Knowledge and Ignorance,
I calculate, are sisters — otherwise
Named Good and Evil. Hand in hand they walk,
So like, that even those who know them best
Scarcely distinguish their identities!
Thro' the dark places of the troubled earth
The first walks radiant and the last gropes blind;
But when they come upon the mountain-tops,
In the night's stillness, underneath the stars,
The last it is that ofttimes leads the first
And points her upward to the heavenly way!"

" If this be so," the grim Professor cried,
Shrugging his shoulders with impatient sneer,
" Then wrong is every whit as good as right,
The Darkness is no better than the Light
It comprehends not!" " Certainly," exclaimed
The melancholy transcendentalist;
" One is the tally of the other, friend;
Nay more, they intermingle, and are one!
The morning dew, that scarcely bends the flowers,
Exhaled to heaven becomes the thunderbolt
That strikes and slays at noon."

But Mors replied
With cold superior smile: " A cheerful creed!
And comfortable, — since, whate'er befalls,
No matter if the foemen sack the city,
No matter if the plague-cart comes and goes,
No matter if the starving cry for bread,
The sleepy watchman calmly cries " All's well! "
For my poor part, as one whose youth was spent,
Not in pursuit of vain delusive dreams,
But in the halls of Science, whom I serve,
I fail to find in Evil any form
My mistress would be brought to christen good;
Nay, on my life," he added, gathering zeal,
" Than such a pantheistic lotus-flower
I'd rather choose those husks and shells of grace
John Calvin found when, prone on hands and knees,
He searched the garbage of Original Sin!
And rather than believe that Hell was Heaven,
People my Hell once more with soot-black fiends!
For Fever, Pestilence, and Ignorance
No angels are, fall'n from some high estate,
But devilish shapes indeed, beneath the heel
Of Hermes, god of healing and of light,
Soon to be trampled down and vanquishid.
And other hideous things that waste the world,
War, Superstition, Anarchy, Disease,
Monsters that Man has fashion'd, like to that
Framed in the poet's tale by Frankenstein —
These shall be slain by their creator's hand,
Their Master's, even Man's. Survey the earth;
And see the sunrise of our saner creed
Scattering the darkness and the poisonous fumes
Which eighteen hundred weary years ago
Came from the sunless sepulchre of Christ.
Where Fever poisoned the pellucid wel
The drinking-fountain clear as crystal flows;
Where the marsh thicken'd and miasma spread,
Cities arise, with clean and shining streets
And sewers transmuting garbage into gold;
Where the foul blood-stained Altar once was set,
Stand the Museum and Laboratory;
The Library, the Gymnasium, and the Bath
Replace the palace; Manufactories,
Gathering together precious gifts for man,
Supplant the Monolith and Pyramid.
Thus everywhere the light of human love
Brightens a wondering convalescent world
Just rising from the spectre-haunted bed
Whereon it sickened of a long disease,
Attended by the false physician, Christ."

He paused; the fever of his eager words
Flash'd on from face to face until it reached
The face of Verity, the priest of Art;
But there it faded, for with pallid frown
And lifted hands, the gentle prophet cried:
" Light? Sunrise? Sunlight? I who speak have eyes,
And yet I see but darkness visible!
Lost is the azure in whose virgin depths
The filmy cirrus turn'd to Shapes divine,
Goddess and god, soft-vestured, white as wool!
Faded the sun, which, striking things of stone,
Turn'd them to statues which like Memnon's sang,
And palpitating over domes and walls,
Cover'd them o'er with forms miraculous,
Prismatic, which the hand of genius touch'd
And fixed in colour ere the forms could fade!
The world, you say, is heal'd; to me, it seems
Just smitten with the plague, and everywhere
The foul cloud gathers, shutting out the sun.
And that faint sound we deem the sweet church chimes,
Is but the death-bell tinkling, while the cart
Comes for its load of dark disfigured dead.
Meantime, within the foul dissecting-room
The form of Man, which, ere our plague-time came,
Was reverenced in shapes of loveliness,
Rosy in flesh, or snowy white in stone,
Lies desecrated, hideous, horrible,
Pois'ning the air and sickening the soul!
And on the slab, beneath the torturer's knife,
Man's gentle friend, the hound, shrieks piteously,
Answer'd by all the bleeding flocks of Pan!
And everywhere the fume of Anarchy,
And hideous monsters of machinery
Toiling for ever in their own thick breath,
Blends with the plague-smoke, blotting out the sun,
Whereby alone all shapes of beauty live!"

" Nay, nay," cried Barbara, " though it rains to-day
The lift will clear to-morrow. I believe
You all are partly right and partly wrong,
For surely many things in life that seem
Most evil are but blessings in disguise?
And difficult 'tis, maybe, to discern
Where Knowledge ends and Ignorance begins.
But then, again, what soul rejoices not
To see yon mailed Perseus, Science, stand
Bruising the loathsome hydra of Disease,
Ay, often slaying Sin and conquering Death?
And yet, again, the counter-plea is true,
That Science, though she heals the wounds of life,
Whiles heals them cruelly and uncannily, —
Just shuts the sufferer in a sunless room,
And changes the old merry tunes of time
To daft mechanic discord, — such as that
Which issues from the throats of mine and mill,
With sough of poisonous reek and flames more sad
Than ever came from Tophet!"

As she ceased,
Professor Mors, the pallid pessimist,
Outstretched his lean and skeletonian hand,
Pointing out sunward: — " See!" he cried, " the God,
Last-born and first-born, Nature's microcosm,
Who, sitting on his mighty throne of graves,
Murmurs the death-dirge of Humanity!
Had ye but ears, methinks that you might catch
The burthen of his melancholy song,
As I myself have heard it oftentimes
When wandering weary underneath the stars.
'Twas thus, methinks, it ran, or something thus,
Full of a burthen strange and sad as ever
Was heard beside the wave-wash'd shores of Time."

SOLILOQUY OF THE GRAND ÊTRE.

I am God, who was Man. Lord of earth, sea, and sky,
I endure while men die;
The River of Life laps my feet, flowing by.

Out of darkness it came, into darkness it goes,
From repose to repose,
And mirrors my face in its flood as it flows.

I am Man, who was men. I am flesh, sense, and soul,
I was part who am Whole,
I am God, being Man, whom no god may control.

Now, sitting alone on my throne, I survey
The dim Past far away,
Whence I came, on the borders of infinite day.

All things and all forces combining have brought
Me, their God, out of nought,
Through the night-time of sense to the morning of thought.

I think and I am. I look round me, and lo!
I remember and know
Both whence I have issued and whither I go.

I stand on the heights of the earth, and descry,
From sky on to sky,
The path through the ages that led me so high.

From the deserts of space where my fire-webs were spun,
Spreading thence one by one
Till they flash'd into flame and cohered to a sun;

From the great whirling sun whence, with no eye to mark,
I shot like a spark,
Then spun fiery-wing'd, round and round, through the dark.

There slowly, alone in the silence of space,
I moved in my place,
With the night at my back and the light on my face.

First shapeless and formless, then spheric and fair,
With no sense, with no care,
I cool'd my hot breast in dark fountains of air.

And the mist of my breathing enwrapt me, and grew
Like a cloud in the blue —
Then flooded my frame with warm oceans of dew.

In the waters I swam, while the sun, red as blood,
Of the waves of that flood
Wove a green grassy sheen, for my raiment and food.

At last, one bright morn, with no sense, with no sight,
After aeons of night,
I lay like a bride new apparell'd and bright.

And embracing my Bridegroom, who bent from the skies
With bright beautiful eyes,
Felt something within me grow quick, and arise.

And straightway I too was the seed, and behold!
Small and lustrous and cold,
I moved in the slime, taking shapes manifold.

I was quick who was clay. I was living and drew
Breath of darkness and dew;
From form on to form groping blindly, I grew.

Then form'd like a Monster with wings, I upleapt
From the waters and swept
Through the mirk of their breath; or lay snakewise, and crept.

Change on change, till I wander'd on hands and on feet
Where the cloud-waves retreat;
And ever each age I grew fair and more fleet.

The world that was I brighten'd round me, and still,
Some strange task to fulfil,
I changed and I changed, with no wish, with no will.

At last, after aeons of death and decay,
At the gateways of Day
I stood, looking up at the heavens far away!

The sea at my feet, and the stars o'er my head,
Naked, dark, with proud tread
I walked on the heights, being quick, who was dead.

I was Man, who was monster. I lived, and I drew
Gentle breath from the blue,
Looked backward and forward, moved blindly, but knew.

And I heark'd to the sounds of the earth, to the herds
Of the beasts and the birds,
And I broke to wild babble of mystical words.

I could speak, who was dumb; I could smile, who was stone;
Of those others not one
Could speak or could smile. I was king-like and lone.
I reign'd o'er the earth, and I slew for a feast Both the bird and the beast;
My seed, scatter'd eastward and westward, increased.

But I feared what the bird and the beast did not fear:
Shapes of dread creeping near
In the night-time, strange voices that cried in mine ear.

And I saw what the bird and the beast could not see —
Shapes that thunder'd at me
From the clouds overhead, till I prayed on my knee.

And I named the dark gods that the beasts could not name —
And I crouch'd, fearing blame
At the voice of the waters, the thunder's acclaim.

One god seemed the strangest and saddest of all,
Who with silent footfall
Slew my seed in the night, smote the great and the small.

Men were scattered like leaves — I remained being Man;
'Neath the blight and the ban,
Like a hound on the grave of its master I ran

On the tombs of my race, crying loud in despair
To the gods of the air,
Who changed as the clouds and were deaf to my prayer.

Then I learned the one Name that the gods overhead
Ever whisper'd in dread,
And methought He was Lord of the quick and the dead.

For I looked on the Book of the stars, and could frame
The strange signs of the Name,
And yet when I called Him He heard not, nor came.

And as wave follows wave, or as cloud follows cloud,
Flash'd my kind in their crowd,
Then slept in their season, each man in his shroud.

Men died, but I died not; I lived and discerned,
With my face ever turned
To the skies, where the lights of my universe burned.

Then I groped on the earth, and I searched sea and land
For the signs of the Hand
Which shaped the cloud-limits, the stars, and the sand.

And all that I found was the footprints of clay
I had left on my way
From the darkness of night to the borders of day.

Then I search'd the great voids of the heaven for a trace
Of a Form or a Face;
I questioned the stars — each was dumb in its place.

So I cried " Wheresoever I gaze, I descry,
On the earth, in the sky,
One thing that is deathless, the Life that is I!"

And I cried, as I looked on the image I cast
On the limitless Vast,
" I was from the first, and I am till the last!"

I am Lord of the world. I am God, being Man.
In the night I began,
Then grew from a cell to a soul, without plan.

As far as the limits of Time and of Space
I my footprints can trace
Wending onward and upward, from race back to race.

I behold, who was blind. I was part, who am Whole.
As the waters that roll
Are my seed who forsake and upbuild me, their Soul.

Do they weep? I am calm. Do they doubt? I am sure.
Though they die, I endure,
As a fire that ascending grows stainless and pure.

I discern all the Past, waves on waves that have fled,
While I press with slow tread
To a goal I discern not, o'er snowdrifts of dead.

I am Thought in the flesh, who was Sense in the seed.
Silent, sanctified, freed,
I emerge, the full sign of the Dream and the Deed.

I am God, being Man. In my glory I blend
Life and death without end.
If the Void hold my peer, let Him speak. I attend.

" So speaks the last and mightiest of the gods,
Our Master, Man immortal!" Sparkle cried;
" His shadow fills the universe as far
As His own thought can wing; His bright eyes face
The sunlight with a blaze it cannot blind;
And in the hollow of His hand He weighs
The stars that are His playthings. He has slain
All other gods, the greatest and the least,
And now within the inmost heart of earth
He builds a Temple more miraculous
Than any little temple wrought in stone!"

" Say rather," answered Bishop Eglantine,
" He wearily prepares the funeral pyre
Whereon Himself, in the dim coming years,
Shall mount and royally burn, or (failing fire)
Whereon outstretch'd He shall await the end,
While quietly the skeleton hands of Frost
Weave Him a shroud, and Time doth snow upon Him
Out of the heavens of eternal cold!
For is not one thing sure, that this round world
Must perish in its season, or become
A habitation where no breathing thing
Can longer creep or crawl? Alas for Him,
Your poor Grand Être, enrooted like a tree
In the still changing soil of human life,
When human life itself shall pass away
As breath upon a mirror, and Night resume
Her empire on the rayless universe.
Wiser, methinks, than your pale seer of France,
Who fashion'd this same shadow of a god,
Is he who prophesies in soul's despair
The sure extinction of the conscious types.
Place for the pessimist! — in Hartmann comes
A later Buddha, and a balefuller.
" Ere yet Man's Soul, " he crieth, " merges back
Into the nothingness from which it rose,
Three stages of illusion must be past:
The stage of a belief in happiness
In this hard world; the stage of a belief
In happiness in any world to come;
And last, the stage of yet more foolish faith
In any happiness the race can gain
Beyond the life of individual man.
Your god, then, is foredoom'd to nothingness,
Surely as Zeus or any of the slain
Already peopling chaos! " "

" Yet — he reigns!"
Cried Sparkle, " and we do him reverence!
Fairer than Balder, tenderer than Christ,
His brethren, mightier than Jove or Brahm,
He adumbrates the wisdom and the joy
Of Nature, and his large beneficence
Extends sweet aid to all created things.
All that he prophesies and promises
He realises and fulfils, unlike
The thunderer on Sinai, or the God
Who wore the crown of thorns!"

" Alas, poor God!"
Murmur'd that other. " Fashion'd out of pain,
Shapen in doubt, and clothen with despair,
How shall He, having re-created Earth
And brought the fabled Eden back again,
Shut out the memory of His own sad dead?
For looking backward, He beholds the world
Strewn with the graves of those who have lived and loved,
And suffered, to complete His deity;
And looking sadly round Him, He beholds
Millions in act to suffer, hears the wail
That shall not cease for many an age to come;
And looking forward, He sees the cataclysm
Of Nature, and his own completed work
Abolish'd in the twinkling of a star!
O pale phantasmic mockery of a god!
O shadow fainter than all shadows cast
Since first the wild man fear'd the darkness, shrieked
At his own shape projected on the cloud —
A spectre of the Brocken, a forlorn
Image of primal ignorance and fear!
Shall we resign for such a dream as this
Our human birthright and our heavenly hope?"

" Nay," interposed another — Edward Clay,
Pupil of Verity and Ercildoune,
" The exodus from Paris following
The exodus from Houndsditch, what remain
But human types of godhead, fit at least
For temporary worship? I will travel
As far as Mecca on my hands and knees
To see a godlike man , — in whom alone
We find the apex and the crown of things,
The vindication of Humanity.
The individual gives the type divine,
The rest, the race, is nothing!"

Thereupon
Outspoke Dan Paumanok, the pantheist:
" Friend, I have often known your godlike men,
And loved them, not for that wherein they missed,
But that wherein they shared, the common strength
And weakness of the race. I love to look
On Goethe's feet of clay, to touch the dross
Mixed with the golden heart of Washington,
To think that Socrates, who braved the gods
And drank his hemlock cup so cheerfully,
Shrank from the chiding of a shrew at home.
Gods? Godlike men? I guess all men possess,
By right of manhood, godlike qualities;
But high as ever human type has reached,
The wave of masterful Humanity
Sweeps higher, striking yonder shore of stars!
Worship no man at all, but every man,
Man typical, Man cosmic, multiform,
The flower and fruit of Being; seize the Thought
Effused from human forms as light is shed
Out of the motion of a living thing;
Follow the sunward flight of our fair race,
Which breathes and suffers, multiplies and dies,
And in a million forms of sense and soul
Sweeps into action and is justified!
The blacksmith at his anvil, the glad child
Gathering shells upon the ocean shore,
The scientist in his laboratory,
The prostitute that walks the moonlit streets,
The sailor at the masthead, or the poet
Lying and dreaming in the summer wood —
All these, and countless other forms divine,
Are evermore divine enough for me.
Fast through them flows the strange and mystic Thought
We comprehend not being things that die,
But which, if we but knew, is Life itself —
Large Life and ample godhead. We are forms
The god-force fashions, as it fashions suns
And clouds and waves and patient animals,
Dead things and living, quickening through the stars
As through the kindling ovum in the womb, —
And every form of life, howe'er so faint,
Is corporate godhead!"

" Ho! a heretic!"
Cried Douglas, laughing; " come, my myrmidons,
Make ready there the faggots and the stake:
By Cock and by St. Peter, Dan must burn.
For less than this Giordano Bruno wore
The martyr's shirt of fire, for less than this
John Calvin tuck'd the bed of flaming coals
Around Servetus, chuckling to himself
" He called me names, improbus et blasphemus ,
And routing me in argument, affirm'd
Stone bench and table, things inanimate,
To be celestial Substance, very God:
Wherefore I hand him to be burned alive
By such celestial Substance — wood, coals, fire —
And to this God I leave him cheerfully! "
For John had humour, mark you, grim as death
And blue as brimstone; for the rest, he knew
The God of Judah kept His ancient tastes
And dearly loved a human sacrifice!"

" Those days are done for ever," Primrose said,
" And he who slew Servetus in his wrath
Slew also priestcraft and the crimson Beast,
So that the lamb of gentleness might reign."

" Indeed!" cried Sparkle with a smile and sneer.
" One comfort is, grim John invented Hell,
Fit home for such a ravening wolf as he!
Why, yes, we grant you Hell, if you admit
Your Calvin's place there! But I doubt indeed
If you have yet abolished martyrdom.
I know full many Christians, worthy souls,
Who swear by book and preach to simple men,
Who, did our gentler human laws permit,
Would strip our Cuthberts naked to the skin
And give them fire for raiment willingly!
Ay, and they do it, freely dealing out
Moral damnation and keen social flame,
So that no man alive, if he would keep
His worldly goods and social privileges,
Dare speak the thing he thinks, or openly
Affirm the heavens are empty, God dethroned.
The thinker is an outcast as of old,
And scarcely dares to phrase his thought aloud
Even on the pillow where he rests his head,
Lest his goodwife should hear the heresy,
And call the curate or the parish priest
To compass his conversion, or at least
Rescue the little ones from blight and bane."

" Why not?" most sadly answer'd Eglantine;
" Blame not the shepherd if he seeks to save
His lambkins from the touch of Antichrist.
Our gentle Inquisition, though it works
In cruelty no more, but all in love,
Is slack, too slack. The age is godless, sir.
Affrighted by the spectres all around,
Our priests lack zeal! Meantime how busily
The self-approven priests of Science toil —
The Devil still is busier gathering tares
Than angels who upbind the golden grain."
Another voice broke in, a woman's voice,
Clear-toned and gentle — round Miss Hazlemere's,
The grey-hair'd lassie with a matron's form
And mother's yearning in her virgin eyes:
Half doubter, half believer, she asserts
The privilege of woman's sex to solve
Problems to which the arid minds of men
Are too untender and rectangular,
Rebukes the Churches, rates the scientists,
And lights a lonely spiritual lamp
By stormy waters, on the rocks of Doubt.
" The truth's with Father Eglantine," she said;
" A priestcraft is a priestcraft, though it speaks
The first word of Religion or the last
Of Science. I would trust Geneva John
No more than Torquemada, and no less
Than Cuthbert or than Mors, if e'er the law
Arm'd them with amplitude of priestly power.
Think you there is no Inquisition now?
Alas! I too know scores of simple souls
Who, having kept their foolish faith in God,
Anthropomorphic, ancient, infantine,
Are, brought before the judges of the time,
Condemn'd as mad or hypocritical!
The old belief is so unfashionable
Among the very wise and over-wise,
That he who dares affirm it openly
Is deem'd unfit to govern his own wife
Or be the lord of his own nursery.
And presently, be sure, if this thing grows,
'Twill be as perilous to believe in God
As 'twas in darker ages to discuss
God's Substance, or attempt to separate
The Tria Juncta of the Trinity.
No priestcraft and no priest at all, say I,
But freedom and free thought, free scope, free choice
To fashion any fetish that I please!"

So speaking, she was conscious of two eyes,
Youthful and eloquent, regarding her:
Mr. Marsh Mallow, bright and bold, but growing
Like his own namesake in a watery place,
Caught up the ball she smiling threw his way,
And cried: " Truth still remains with Eglantine!
The Church which builds itself on Peter's Rock,
And still doth keep the keys of Heaven and Hell,
Lacks zeal to face those Spectres of the mind
Which it might lay to sleep for evermore
With just one wave of the enchanter's wand.
Meantime they rush abroad like ravening wolves,
Appalling Reason, making Love afraid,
Rending in twain the beauteous heaven-eyed Lamb
Which men have christen'd Faith. But patience yet;
The priestcraft and the priest shall conquer yet,
And men grow holy in their own despite!"

Flush'd to the temples, Stephen Harkaway,
The dandy of revolt, a positivist,
And positive to the very finger-tips,
Made answer: " Yet again the solemn truth
Remains with Eglantine! The priest shall reign,
And on the sands of time another Pope
Upbuild another and a fairer Rome.
There the apostles of the fair new creed,
Having abolished Christ and all the gods,
Destroyed the current poison of belief
In individual immortality,
Shall to the only god, Humanity,
Sing their hosannah! Ay, and they shall raise
Their Inquisition on the heart of man,
And unto Vice and Ignorance and Disease,
All things that mar their god's divinity,
Deal the peine forte et dure! Prison and fire
Shall fright the fortune-telling charlatans
Who creep with old wives' tales from house to house!
Since Man without a creed is stark and starved,
And only feeble souls desiderate
A creed without a priestcraft, ours shall be
Tyrannical, I trust, and, furthermore,
Kind to the very verge of cruelty!
No fetish, Madam, will be tolerated,
Nor any juggler's tricks to cheat the soul."

" I thank you, sir," Miss Hazlemere replied,
" For throwing off the mask that we may see
The features of your God. I ever thought
Your Comte a Jesuit in disguise! But come,
Our Queen looks sadly on this war of words,
And longs to hush its Babel. Who will touch
The midriff of the mystery with a song?
For Music, of all angels walking earth,
Is fittest far to phrase the Thought divine
Which dies away in utterance on the lips
That only speak poor human nature's prose.
Sweet Music gropes her way and walketh blind
Because she saw the Vision long ago
And closed her eyes in joy unutterable,
The light of which lies ever upon her face
Although she cannot see!"
Then at a sign
From Lady Barbara, I, her poet, rose
And touch'd the instrument, with eager hand
Sounded a prelude of precipitous notes,
Then broke to measured song; and thus I sang: —

O MARINERS.

O Mariners, out of the sunlight, and on through the infinite Main,
We have sailed, departing at morning; — and now it is morning again.

Dimly, darkly, and blindly, our life and our journey begun,
Blind and deaf was our sense with the fiery sands of the sun.

Then slowly, grown stronger and stronger, feeling from zone on to zone,
We passed the islands of darkness, and reached the sad Ocean, alone.

But now we pause for a moment, searching the east and the west,
Above and beneath us the waters that mirror our eyes in their breast!

Behind, the dawn and the darkness, — new dawn around and before, —
Ah me, we are weary, and hunger to rest, and to wonder no more.

Yet never, O Mariners, never were we so stately and fair —
The forms of the flood obey us, we are lords of the birds of the air.

And yet as we sail we are weeping, and crying, " Although we have ranged
So far over infinite waters, transformed out of darkness and changed,

We know that the Deep beneath us must drink us and wash us away" —
Nay, courage — sail on for a season — on, on to the gateways of Day.

Our voyage is only beginning — its dreariest dangers are done,
We now have a compass to guide us, the Soul, and it points to the Sun!

The stars in their places obey us, the winds are as slaves to our sail —
Be sure that we never had journey'd so far but to perish and fail!

Out of the wonderful sunlight, and on through the infinite Main,
We have sail'd, departing at morning — and now it is morning again!
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