Doth not all that inspires us Bear the color of night? She beareth thee as a mother. And to her thou dost owe All of thy splendor. Thou wouldst vanish Into thyself, Thou wouldst dissolve Into endless space Did she not hold thee— Not bind thee, So that thou grewest warm. And flaming Begottest the world. Verily I was, ere thou wert. Not yet have they ripened, Those thoughts of the gods. As yet are the traces but few In our age. One day thy clock will depict The ending of time. When thou wilt become As one of us, And full of longing. Melt away and die. Blessed return.
I discern thy removal In wild grief From our home. Thy resistance To the glorious Ancient heaven. In vain is thy fury. Thy raging. Indestructible Stands the Cross, Triumphant banner Of our race.
I wander across And every pain Will turn to a pricking Of joy again. Unending life Comes over me, And I look from above Down below upon thee. Thy brightness fades On that httle hill, A shade is bringing The chaplet cool. Oh, drink.
Beloved, Of me drink deep. That soon I be wrapped In eternal sleep. I feel death's encroaching. Youth-giving wave, And wait through life's stresses Full stalwart and brave. Over the widespread race Of man There formerly ruled An iron destiny. With silent might.
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A dark and heavy band Lay round their Anxious souls. Infinite was the earth, Abode of the gods And their home. Rich in treasures And glorious wonders. Since eternity Stood her mysterious frame. An ancient giant Supported the blissful world. And the befriended Joyful mankind.
The dark blue depths Of the sea Was the womb of a goddess. Heavenly hosts Dwelt in joyful delight In the grottoes of crystal- Trees and brooks, Blossoms and beasts Had human sense; Sweeter tasted the wine. For a god in youthful bloom Gave it to man.
The full sheaves Of golden com Were divinely bestowed; The rapturous joys of love A sacred service To heavenly beauty. Thus was life An eternal festival Of gods and men. Only there was one thought Which frightful to the festive tables trod, And in wild panic fear all hearts enveiled. Here words of counsel even failed each god.
Which with sweet comfort could their hearts have filled; Mysterious was this monster's dreadful road, Whose rage no gift, no anxious prayer availed— For it was Death, who this gay banquet scene Broke up in pain and tears and anguish keen. Forever now from all things separated Which here do stir the heart in sweet delight— From loved ones parted, whom, down here, belated.
Vain longings and an endless grief incite— Dull dream the lot to which the dead seemed fated, Unconscious struggling deemed their dreary plight. Broken and shattered was the wave of pleasure Upon the rock of misery without measure. With daring mind, and lofty feeling's zest, Did man embellish that grim mask unkind, A pale wan youth puts out the light to rest, Soft is the end, as harp strings touched by wind, And memory melts in shadow-flood at last: Thus poets eased the need of troubled mind.
Yet still unfathomed stayed eternal night.
The solemn symbol of a far-off might. To its end inclined The ancient world. The happy garden Of the youthful race Withered away; Out into freer spaces Strove the full-grown, Unchildhke mankind. Laws arose, And in ideas As in dust and air Fell to pieces The measureless prime Of the thousandfold life. Fled away Were all-powerful faith And fantasy. All-transforming, AU-imiting, Heavenly comrade. Unfriendly blew A cold north wind Over the frozen plains, And the wonderland home Passed away in the ether.
The infinite distance Of heaven Was filled with shining worlds. Into a deeper sanctuary. Into the mind's higher realms. Drew the soul of the world With her powers.
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There to reign Till the new day Should break. The loftier world-glory. No longer was Hght The abode of the gods. And a heavenly token- Around them they drew The curtain of night. In the midst of mankind. In a folk Despised above all. Too soon grown ripe, And proudly estranged From the blessed innocence Of youth. Before all others Did the eastern wisdom, Rich flowering, full of foreseeing.
Know the approach Of the new age. A star pointed the way To the King's humble cradle. In the name of the far future They paid him homage. With the splendor and perfumes Of the highest wonders of nature.
Unfolded the heavenly heart In sohtude To a glowing bosom of love, Turned toward The Father's lofty countenance, And resting on the holy foreboding breast Of the gracious earnest Mother. With worshiping ardor The prophetic eye Of the blossoming child Looked into future times. Soon the most childhke natures, Wondrously gripped By the almighty love.
Gathered aroimd him. A strange new life Flowered forth In his presence- Inexhaustible words. Most joyful of tidings. Fell hke sparks Of divine spirit From his gracious lips. From far coasts, Bom under serene skies Of Hellas Came a singer To Palestine And surrendered his heart To the miraculous child: Thou art that youthful form our tombs display Standing above them, deep in contemplation, ConsoHng emblem in our darkest day Of higher manhood's joyful new foundation.