HAST thou forgotten whose thou art ?
To what high service consecrate ?
I gave thee not a noble heart
To wed with such ignoble fate.
I found thee where the laurels grow
Around the lonely Delphian shrine ;
There, where the sacred fountains flow,
I found thee, and I made thee mine.
I gave thy soul to agony,
And strange unsatisfied desire,
That thou mightst dearer be to me,
And worthier of thy burning lyre.
O child, thy fate had made thee God,
To thee such powers divine were given;
The paths of fire thou mightst have trod
Had led thee to the stars of heaven.
And those who in the early dawn
Of beauty sat and sang of day,
Deep in their twilight shades withdrawn,
Had heard thy coining far away,—
With haunting music sweet and strange,
And airs ambrosial blown before,
Vague breathings of the floral change
That glorifies the hills of yore:
Had felt the joy those only find
Who in their secret souls have known
The mystery of the poet mind
That through all beauty feels its own :
Had felt the God within them rise
To meet thy radiant soul divine;
Had searched with their prophetic eyes
The midnight luminous of thine.
So fondly did Urania deem !
So proudly did she prophesy!
Oh, ruin of a noble dream
She thought too glorious to die !
Nor knew thy passionate songs of yore
Were as a promise unfulfilled,—
A stately portal set before
The palace thou shalt never build !
For is it come to this, at last ?
And thou forever must remain
A godlike statue, formed and east
In marble attitude of pain,—
Proud lips that in their scorn are mute,
And haunting eyes of anguished love,
One hand that grasps a silent lute,
And one convulsèd hand above
That will not strike ? Ah, scorn and shame!
Shame for the apostate unforgiven,
Beholding an unconquered fame
In undiscovered fields of heaven !
For Beauty not by one alone
In her completeness is revealed:
The smiles and tears her face hath shown
To thee from others are concealed.
Men see not in the midnight sky
All miracles she worketh there :
It is the blindness of the eye
That paints its darkness on the air.
Two friends who wander by the shore
Look not upon the selfsame seas,
Hearing two voices in the roar,
Because of different memories.
For him whose love the sea hath drowned,
It moans the music of his wrong;
For him whose life with love is crowned,
It breaks upon the beach in song.
So dreaming not another’s dream,
But still interpreting thine own,
By woodland wild and quiet stream
Thou wanderest in the world alone.
Then what thou slayest none can save :
Silent and dark oblivion rolls
Over the glory in the grave
Of fierce and suicidal souls.
From that dark wave no pleading ghost
With pointing hand shall ever rise,
To say,—The world hath treasure lost,
And here the buried treasure lies !
Beware, and yet beware ! my fear
Unfolds a vision in the gloom
Of Beauty borne upon her bier,
And Darkness crouching in the tomb.
Beware, and yet beware ! her end
Is thine ; or else, her shadowy hearse
Beside, thy spirit shall descend
The vast sepulchral universe,
And, with the passion that remains
In desolated hearts, implore
The spectre sitting bound in chains
To yield what he shall not restore:—
The mystery whose soul divine
Breathed love, and only love, on thee;
Which better far had not been thine,
Than, having been, to cease to be.