Not on one plane indeviable, the soul
Makes way, but moonlike waveringly as though
Not to advance for a time content; the while
Urged by interior fate to compass heaven
Pauseless; the spirit’s instruction still proceeds;
And God’s original end itself fulfil.
Soul commune solitary with God; faith, prayer
Strengthen the spirit meekly sustained by sense
Of travail, for the world’s weal fate to endure
And rule. God, through his angel, tidings blessed
To man sends of acceptance sealed; his choice
Pacific ratified. Yet welcome though,
The heaven imputed charge, now imminent, weights
The aspiring soul with prescient grief, if heaven’s
Free testimony make glad, and man’s assent
General, but unproclaimed to power God–vouched
With calm fill now inalienable for aye.
A lonely Lodge among the Snowy Mountains.
Festus alone; afterwards Guardian Angel.
Festus. I feel as if I could devour the days
Till the time came when I shall gain mine end;
God shall have made me ruler, and all worlds
Signed the sublime recognizance. Till then,
Even as a boat lies rocking on the beach,
Waiting the one white wave to float it free,
Wait I the great event;–too great it seems.
Yet, Lord! thou knowest the power I seek for sought
For man’s good and thy glory, and its desire
By thee inspired. As I use it use thou me.
Thou hast said that such I shall enjoy, and then,
My mission and thine ends accomplished, here,
I seek a world where souls begin again,
Or life take up from where death broke it at.
Like disproportion there ‘tween will and power
As here, may not be. If not, I shall be happy.
I feel no bounds. I cannot think but thought
On thought springs up, illimitably, around,
As a great forest sows itself; but here
There is nor ground nor light enough to live.
Sealike, I would be everywhere at once;
And, sensible of the natural competence
To outspread my spirit o’er all the endless world,
Would act at all points. Bound to one, I feel,
So poor mere place is, with ubiquity weighed,
As well nigh nowhere. Sense, flesh, feeling, fail
Before the imperious mind’s feet as the dust
She treads, windlike lifts up and leaves behind.
How mind will act with body glorified
And spiritualized, and senses fined,
And pointed brilliantwise, we know not. Here,
Even, it may be wrong in us to deem
The senses degradations, otherwise
Than as fine steps, whereby the queenly soul
Comes down from her bright throne to view the mass
She hath dominion over, and the things
Of her inheritance; and reascends,
With an indignant fiery purity,
Not to be touched, her seat. The visible world,
Whereby God maketh nature known to us,
Is not derogatory unto himself,
As the pure Spirit Infinite. A world
Is but, perhaps, a sense of God’s whereby
He may explain his nature, and receive
Fit pleasure. But the hour is hard at hand,
When time’s gray wing shall winnow all away,
Heavens, stars, earth’s atoms: when Creator mind
And mind create shall know each other; worlds,
Bodies put off, and man his Maker meet
Where all, who through the universe do well,
Embrace their hearts’ desire; what things they will
And whom remember; live, too, where they list;
And with the beings they love best, and God,
Inherit and inhabit boundless bliss.
Hear me, all–favouring God! my latest prayer;
Thou unto whom all nations of the world
Lift up their hearts, like grass–blades to the sun;
Who all things hast, save need of aught; who hast given me
Earth and her all; give from thy garner stored
With good, some sign Lord now in proof to earth
My prayers are with thee; that they rend the clouds,
And, rising through the sightless dark of space,
Reach to thy central throne. Oh! let me feel,
What was my constant dream in my young years,
And is in all my better moments now,–
My hope, my faith, my nature’s sum and end,
Oneness with thee and heaven. Lord! make me sure
My soul already is in unison
With the triumphant. Ah! I surely hear
The voices of the spirits of the saints,
And witnesses to the redeeming truth;
Not, as of old, in scanty scattered strains,
Breathed from the caves of earth and cells of cities,–
Nor as the voice of martyr choked with fire,–
But in one solemn hymn of joy as when
From the bright walls of the heavenly city they
Looked on the war of hell, host upon host,
Foiled by God’s single sword before their gates
Of perfect pearl;–nearer and nearer now!
This is the sign, O God! which thou hast given,
And I will praise thee through eternity.
Saints from Heaven.
Call all who love thee, Lord! to thee,
Thou knowest how they long
To leave these broken lays, and aid
In heaven’s unceasing song;
How they long, Lord! to go to thee,
And hail thee with their eyes,–
Thee in thy blessedness, and all
The nations of the skies;
All who have loved thee and done well,
Of every age, creed, clime;
The host of saved ones from the ends
And all the worlds of time:
The wise in matter and in mind,
The soldier, sage, and priest,
King, prophet, hero, saint, and bard,
The greatest soul and least;
The old and young and very babe,
The maiden and the youth,
All re–born angels of one age–
The age of heaven and truth;
The rich, the poor, the good, the bad,
Redeemed alike from sin;
Lord! close the book of time, and let
Festus. Will ye away, ye blessed? To God I then
Commend ye, and my soul with yours; and midst
The light ye live, in, oh! mind ye of the days
Sunless, and starless nights, myriads on earth
Pass without faith’s one ray, and pray for those
Who in the world’s dark womb bound, know not yet,
Through indifference, ignorance, or disbelief,
Their sire, God. Lord of all earth, all worlds, all heavens,
Lift up to thine my spirit; let me so share
The comfort of thy love, that while ordained
To my great task, no more misgivings, fears,
Nor mortal doubts, the soul chill, thou by thy love
Hast hallowed, and so made like molten gold
The mould that holds it precious; or for thine
Own ends, if such thou suffer, may they pass
Quickly and traceless, perish; all thoughts of earth
All deathpangs too o’ercome, may I with thy chosen,
Seraphs and saints, and all–possessing souls,
Which minister through the universe, to thee,
Enthroned in spirit’s intensest bliss, succeed
To heaven for ever.
Guardian Angel. Hear, mortal, and believe.
The soul once saved shall never cease from bliss.
She doth not sin. The deeds which look like sin,
The flesh and the false world, are all to her
Hallowed and glorified. The world is changed.
She hath a resurrection unto God,
While in the flesh, before the final one,
And is with God. Her state shall never fail.
Even the molten granite which hath split
Mountains, and lieth now like curdled blood
In marble veins, shall flow again when comes
The heat which is to end all; when the air
Is as a ravening fire, and what at first
Produced, at last consumeth; but the soul
Redeemed is dear to God as his own throne,
And shall no sooner perish. Hearken, man!
Will thou distrust God?
Festus. God I ne’er distrust.
Guardian Angel. Perchance his dooms perplex thee; thou wouldst know
Why this, why that, were ta’en. If that, by charm
Of world–lore and all mysteries abstruse,
Art’s secular sanctities and accomplishments,
Would have divert thy heart, thy life absorbed
As fain she would, to her own ends: if this,
Of sway ambitious, had foreurged the arm
Of empire, ere among men’s minds the need
And good of universal peace became
Compeer, in thine, of conscience purified
And life sublimed and hallowed; had life’s friend,
Though cordial and sincere, infected thine
With his soul’s selfish purports, love of power,
Wealth, knowledge, state and rule for any good
Narrower than all thy kind’s; the stars had stopped
Their sacred march. All fates are in God’s hand;
And whether by their own presumption, pride,
Passion or ignorance, this or that one cease,
Perish, man knows not, angel knows not. All
Know it is just. Doubt thou on doubt no more.
Prepare then for the power and lot most high
Whereto the Lord hath called thee. He hath heard
The prayers thou hast now besought him with, heart–strained,
And bids me tell thee, shrink not, doubt not. He
Will comfort and uphold thee at the end.
Festus. Thou art mine angel guard! I recognize,
In every holy feature of thy face,
The instigated thoughts of heaven which oft
In my world wanderings blessed me; in thy touch,
The virtuous resolution; in thy voice,
The warning and foreknowledge unexplained,
Not unesteemed, prompting to do or shun;
And in thy smile joy total and supreme.
Guardian Angel. But death’s eternal secret all must hear.
Festus. I fear, I fear this miracle of death
Is something terrible.
Guardian Angel. Where faith were not
In God’s all–moulding hand, such fear were well.
As when a
(Philip James Bailey)
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Based on Keywords: festus, fined, disproportion, grass-blades, foreknowledge, compeer, unexplained, misgivings, pauseless, re-born, competence