Deisidaimonia: (Holy Fear)

IN the silence of that far-off land
Where dwell the gods, and where the hearts of men,
Leaving this common strand,
Love to disport, —
Knowing nor how nor when
They have fled thither to inherit spheres
Made sacred by the absence of the years, —
In that dread land is one
Tall and most beautiful,
Who like the sun
Awes with her presence all who walk by day ;
Many have sought for her,
Longing and wandering, and have gone astray ;
But one who found,
Hath wrought her form in marble,
Naming her
Love the Victorious.
Thus she lives for us !
And in that presence, lo ! the holy dread
Men knew of old still holds their senses dull
To all things else, while they but gaze,
Nor utter any sound.
High hearts! Fear is not dead,
But walks these alleys green and noonlit ways,
And runs before the fleeting foot of youth,
As when the childhood of the world worshiped both love and truth.
And who is he that chides
The fainting color and the stumbling speech
In boy or maid !
Who is he derides
Worship for what he sees not, nor can reach !
He cannot hear the voice within the wind,
Nor follow the unbodied feet that fall
Beside him in the woodland, cannot find
Dear faces in the stillness of the mind,
Nor feel the love that sways and governs all.
Upon the night I wake,
And lo, the clouds are chasing wide and far;
Dim beacons break,
Then die on the horizon.
There is no hand, no loving hand,
No voice from strand to strand ; Only the wind across the star-strewn sky
Cries in the trees, then murmurs, and is gone.
Thou holy dread,
Who holdest the dim gates whereby we pass
Between the seen and unseen,
Fade not, lest dim and even as in a glass
We see, and straight forget what we have been !
For in the night, in sorrow of the night,
In awful woodlands and the roar of seas,
The still voice bids us know the thing we are,
And what perchance we may be !
Quicken my sight,
Thou terror of the dawn !
And thou sad breeze,
Quicken my ear !
That when the sun once more salutes the lawn
My soul, awake, shall see
The morning of forgiveness and of peace
And her one star
Guide to the haven of love, where doubt and dread shall cease.
A. F.