O SOVEREIGN Master ! stern and splendid power,
That calmly dost both Time and Death defy ;
Lofty and lone as mountain peaks that tower,
Leading our thoughts up to the eternal sky :
Keeper of some divine, mysterious key,
Raising us far above all human care,
Unlocking awful gates of harmony
To let heaven’s light in on the world’s despair ;
Smiter of solemn chords that still command
Echoes in souls that suffer and aspire,
In the great moment while we hold thy hand,
Baptized with pain and rapture, tears and fire,
God lifts our saddened foreheads from the dust,
The everlasting God, in whom we trust !
And was it thus the master looked, think you ?
Is this the painter’s fancy ? Who can tell !
These strong and noble outlines should be true :
On the broad brow such majesty should dwell.
Yea, and these deep, indomitable eyes
Are surely his. Lo, the imperial will
In every feature ! Mighty purpose lies
About the shut mouth, resolute and still.
Notice the head’s pathetic attitude,
Bent forward, listening, — he that might not hear !
Ah, could the world’s adoring gratitude,
So late to come, have made his life less drear !
Hearest thou, now, great soul beyond our ken,
Men’s reverent voices answering thee, “ Amen ” ?
Celia Thaxter.