The Initiate

SLOWLY, with day’s dying fall,
And with many a solemn sound,
Slowly from the Athenian wall,
The long procession wound.
Five days of the mystic nine
Clad in solemn thought were passed,
Ere the few could drink the wine
Or seek the height at last.
Then the chosen, young and old,
To Eleusis went their ways;
But no lip the tale has told
Of those mysterious days.
In the seer’s seeing eye,
The maiden with a faithful soul,
In youth that did not fear to die,
Was felt that strange control.
Yet no voice the dreadful word
Through these centuries of man
Made the sacred secret heard,
Or showed the hidden plan.
All the horrors born of death
Rose within that nine days’ gloom,
Chasing those forms of mortal breath
From awful room to room.
Deep through bowels of the earth
They drove the seekers of the dark,
Hearts that longed to know the worth
Hid in the living spark.
In that moment of despairs
Was revealed — but who may tell
How the Omnipotent declares
His truth that all is well ?
Saw they forms of their own lost ?
Heard they voices that have fled?
We know not, — or know at most
Their joy was no more dead.
Light of resurrection gleamed,
But in what shape we cannot hear ;
Glory shone of the redeemed
Beyond this world of fear.
Old books say Demeter came
And smiled upon them, and her smile
Burned all their sorrow in its flame,
Yet left them here awhile.
O shadowed sphere whereon we pause
To live our dream and suffer, thou
Shroudst the initiate days ; the cause
Gleams on thy morning brow!
A. F.