Murmurs in the Gloom

(Nocturne)

I wayfared at the nadir of the sun
Where populations meet, though seen of none;
And millions seemed to sigh around
As though their haunts were nigh around,
And unknown throngs to cry around
Of things late done.

" O Seers, who well might high ensample show"
(Came throbbing past in plainsong small and slow),
" Leaders who lead us aimlessly,
Teachers who train us shamelessly,
Why let ye smoulder flamelessly
The truths ye trow?

" Ye scribes, that urge the old medicament,
Whose fusty vials have long dried impotent,
Why prop ye meretricious things,
Denounce the sane as vicious things,
And call outworn factitious things
Expedient?

" O Dynasties that sway and shake us so,
Why rank your magnanimities so low
That grace can smooth no waters yet,
But breathing threats and slaughters yet
Ye grieve Earth's sons and daughters yet
As long ago?

" Live there no heedful ones of searching sight,
Whose accents might be oracles that smite
To hinder those who frowardly
Conduct us, and untowardly;
To lead the nations vawardly
From gloom to light?"

22 September 1899
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