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Ay, note that potter's wheel,
That metaphor! and feel
Why time spins fast, why passive lies our clay, —
Thou, to whom fools propound,
When the wine makes its round, “Since life fleets, all is change; the Past gone, seize to-day!”
Fool! all that is, at all,
Lasts ever, past recall;
Earth changes, but thy soul and God stand sure:
What entered into thee,
That was, is, and shall be: Time's wheel runs back or stops ; Potter and clay endure.
He fixed thee ʼmid this dance
Of plastic circumstance,
This Present, thou, forsooth, wouldst fain arrest:
Machinery just meant
To give thy soul its bent,
Try thee and turn thee forth, sufficiently impressed.
What though the earlier grooves
Which ran the laughing loves Around thy base, no longer pause and press ?
What though, about thy rim,
Skull-things in order grim
Grow out, in graver mood, obey the sterner stress ?
Look not thou down, but up!
To uses of a cup,
The festal board, lamp’s flash, and trumpet's peal,
The new wine's foaming flow,
The Master's lips aglow! Thou, Heaven's consummate cup, what needst thou with
earth’s wheel ?
But I need, now as then,
Thee, God, who mouldest men; And since, not even while the whirl was worst,
Did I — to the wheel of life,
With shapes and colors rife,
Bound dizzily - mistake my end, to slake thy thirst;
So, take and use thy work!
Amend what flaws may lurk, What strain o' the stuff, what warpings past the aim !
My times be in thy hand !
Perfect the cup as planned ! Let age approve of youth, and death complete the same !
A nymphs of Solyma, begin the song, —
To heavenly themes sublimer strains belong. G The mossy fountains and the sylvan shades,
The dreams of Pindus and the Aonian maids,
Delight no more, — O thou my voice inspire
Who touched Isaiah's hallowed lips with fire!
Rapt into future times the bard begun :
A virgin shall conceive, — a virgin bear a son!
From Jesse's root behold a branch arise
Whose sacred flower with fragrance fills the skies !
The ethereal spirit o’er its leaves shall move,
And on its top descends the mystic dove.
Ye heavens, from high the dewy nectar pour,
And in soft silence shed the kindly shower!
The sick and weak the healing plant shall aid, —
From storm a shelter, and from heat a shade.
All crimes shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale,
Peace o'er the world her olive wand extend,
And white-robed Innocence from heaven descend.
Swift fly the years, and rise the expected morn!
O spring to light ! auspicious babe, be born!
See, Nature hastes her earliest wreaths to bring,
With all the intense of the breathing Spring!
See lofty Lebanon his head advance;
See nodding forests on the mountains dance;
See spicy clouds from lowly Sharon rise,
And Carmel's flowery top perfumes the skies!
Hark! a glad voice the lonely desert cheers :
Prepare the way! a God, a God appears !
A God, a God! the vocal hills reply, —
The rocks proclaim the approaching Deity.
Lo, earth receives Him from the bending skies!
Sink down, ye mountains; and ye valleys, rise !
With heads declined, ye cedars, homage pay!
Be smooth, ye rocks; ye rapid floods, give way!
The Saviour comes! by ancient bards foretold, -
Hear Him, ye deaf; and all ye blind, behold!
He from thick films shall purge the visual ray,
And on the sightless eyeball pour the day;
'T is He the obstructed paths of sound shall clear,
And bid new music charm the unfolding ear;
The dumb shall sing; the lame his crutch forego,
And leap exulting like the bounding roe.
No sigh, no murmur, the wide world shall hear, -
From every face He wipes off every tear.
In adamantine chains shall Death be bound,
And hell's grim tyrant feel the eternal wound.
As the good shepherd tends his fleecy care,
Seeks freshest pasture, and the purest air,
Explores the lost, the wandering sheep directs,
By day o'ersees them, and by night protects;
The tender lambs He raises in His arms, –
Feeds from His hand, and in His bosom warms :
Thus shall mankind His guardian care engage, –
The promised Father of the future age.
No more shall nation against nation rise,
Nor ardent warriors meet with hateful eyes;
Nor fields with gleaming steel be covered o’er,
The brazen trumpets kindle rage no more;
But useless lances into scythes shall bend,
And the broad falchion in a ploughshare end.
Then palaces shall rise; the joyful son
Shall finish what his short-lived sire begun;
Their vines a shadow to their race shall yield,
And the same hand that sowed shall reap the field;
The swain in barren deserts with surprise
Sees lilies spring and sudden verdure rise ;
And starts, amidst the thirsty wilds, to hear
New falls of water murmuring in his ear.
On rifted rocks, the dragon's late abodes,
The green reed trembles, and the bulrush nods ;
Waste sandy valleys, once perplexed with thorn,
The spiry fir and shapely box adorn;
To leafless shrubs the flowery palms succeed,
And odorous myrtle to the noisome weed;
The lambs with wolves shall graze the verdant mead,
And boys in flowery bands the tiger lead :
The steer and lion at one crib shall meet,
And harmless serpents lick the pilgrim's feet.
The smiling infant in his hand shall take
The crested basilisk and speckled snake, —