The Strange Spirit

Age shall not daunt me, nor sorrow for youth that is gone,
If thou lead on before me;
If thy voice in the darkness and bleak of that final night
Still its enchantment weave o'er me.
Thou hauntest the stealing shadow of rock and tree;
Hov'ring on wings invisible smilest at me;
Fannest the secret scent of the moth-hung flower;
Making of musky eve thy slumber-bower.

But not without danger thy fleeting presence abides
In a mind lulled in dreaming.
Lightning bepictures thy gaze. When the thunder raves,
And the tempest rain is streaming,
Betwixt cloud and earth thy falcon-head leans near —
Menacing earth-bound spirit betrayed to fear.
Cold then as shadow of death, that icy glare
Pierces the window of sense to the chamber bare.

Busied o'er dust, engrossed o'er the clod-close root,
Fire of the beast in conflict bleeding,
Goal of the coursing fish on its ocean tryst,
Wind of the weed's far seeding,
Whose servant art thou? Who gave thee earth, sky and sea
For uttermost kingdom and ranging? Who bade thee to be
Bodiless, lovely; snare, and delight of the soul,
Fantasy's beacon, of thought the uttermost goal?

When I told my love thou wert near, she bowed, and sighed.
With passion her pale face darkened.
Trembling the lips that to mine in silence replied;
Sadly that music she hearkened.
Miracle thine the babe in her bosom at rest,
Flowerlike, hidden loose-folded on gentle breast —
And we laughed together in quiet, unmoved by fear,
Knowing that, life of life, thou wast hovering near.
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