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Philip James Bailey (Филип Джеймс Бэйли)

Festus - 7

A man in love sees wonders naturally.
Ours sole,--abnormal gifts but gradual given,
Can make participable his starry views,
And intuitions spiritual instilled,
May be, by angel kind of other worlds.
An ominous parable told by his love, endured,
Heart--faltering, he his constancy asserts:
Still, who can thought control? Who shun one wish,
That, like a stranger in the street, we meet
But can't aside from, dreamwise, haunts us;--see;
The first leaf falls of heart's bloom. Discontent
With nature, strong desire, implanted how?
Springs up to know all life, the secrets learn
Of science and time's truths arcane; projects
Evil would fulfil, that thus forebusied, soul,
All virtue of self--ascription to its Lord
Might lose. The heart, doubt--torn, disposed to death;
End, if e'er written within Fate's book, erased.
Lawn and Parterre--Bridge; and Village Church in distance. Evening.
Festus and Clara.
Festus. My soul's orb darkens, as a sudden star
Which, heaven and earth of wonder emptied, wanes;
Passes for aye; eclipsed not; self--consumed:
All but a cloudy vapour, dimming there,
The spot in space it once illumed. To myself
Once seemed I as a mount of light; but now
A pit of night. I dare no more of this.
For, like a shipwrecked stranger in a lighthouse,
I have looked down upon the utter side
Of such thoughts, from the leeming room of reason,
And beheld all beyond black roaring madness.
Meanwhile, have done with this or that; between
This angel incomplete, and finished fiend,
Choose I must. Say, I have chosen. What, if still,
As earth through all her polar midnight feels
The o'erbearing strain which warps her sunwards, I
That know I may not rid me of; the sense
Of late success, disastrous, to be gained
At price of present happiness. It is done.
I am due but to mine end. The world itself
Shall reconcile to virtue, ere I part
Unsatiate of the world. Fate! ask not, sole,
One sacrifice, this heart faithful to me,
Nearer which ought to be each hour; but, asked,
The incommunicant future yields no sign,
More than the silvery mirror of the sea
Mist--veiled, all imagery, of hers; nor more,
Though sought with prayers, foretells me heaven through those
Lights and perfections of our nature, God
Hath shrined in us. It is by events we live.
Come nearlier to me, Clara. Where hast been
This long, long hour?
Clara. I have been but here, hard by;
Planting these flowerets by the brook, that they,
Not of felicitous feeling void, their own,
Or other's beauties might, reflective, note
In the swift sparkling wave; and odorous gifts
Uncustomary, exchange.
Festus. Ah happy flowers!
When shall I know such calm? But I have vowed
To be joyous in myself. I will be. See!
Here have I lain all day in this green nook,
Shaded by larch and hornbeam, ash and yew,
A living well and runnel at my feet;
And wild flowers dancing to some delicate air:
An urn--topped column, and its ivy wreath,
Skirting my sight, as thus I lie and look
Upon the blue unchanging sacred skies;
And thou too, gentle Clara by my side,
With lightsome brow and beaming eye, and bright,
Long glorious locks which drop upon thy cheek
Like gold--hued cloudflakes on the rosy morn.
Oh when the heart is full of sweets to o'erflowing,
And ringing to the music of its love,
Who not an angel, nor a hypocrite,
Could speak or think of happier states?
Clara. In truth
I know not; but a sadness that to me
Feels mortally prophetic, charged with threats
Of severance, coldness, fears of possible death,
Change in the faith maybe of one of us,
And suchlike sad contingencies, weighs down
At times, my heart much; sadlier more than all
Life's promises seem to lighten or lift.
Festus. Away
With baleful thoughts; let joyaunce be our life.
Well art thou Clara hight, for soul more bright,
More lovely, lives not out of Paradise.
Clara. I have another name whose element
Is tears, they tell me. In the coming time,
Who knows? it may become me more than this.
Festus. 'Gainst that sad augury set thou my resolve;
And be it fordone for ever.
Clara. Fate will prove.
But oh! I dread estrangement, dread to dream;
Lest even dreams should wrong thee, and thou act
As in time's great betrothals, legends tell,
Man brake his vows, and nature's holy heart.
For I have heard how once in the head of days
Man lived with nature as his sacred bride,
In union pure and perfect. All her wealth,
Which God had dowered her with, from the rich gems
Which starred her sandals, and so lit her path,
To the predominant virtues of the spheres,
And latent life of elements, she to him,
For that her lord was poor though potent, gave.
He too with ampler thought and vital truths,
Strewn in divine disorder like the stars
Which to the ignorant mean nought, but to the eye
Instructed, oft configure boundless good;
With deep conceit of mysteries, than all rocks
Fire--grained, sea--couched, elder, and stories fraught
With wisdom, in eternal fable penned;
Aught worthy knowing was right early known;
So sanctified her spirit, that she became
Like a created goddess. Her he taught
The life in life of faith, and what on earth
Was powerfullest of things, the bended knee,
Which can prevail o'er God; and how, all years,
For one clear hour, earth hath the option now
To rest and ruin all things, but renew
Her maiden splendour and primaeval bliss;
Or, bearing fate, like chance of equal meed
Secure the starry skies. These mark her thread,
Amid the hush of heaven, their thronging spheres,
And her light footsteps lauding, breathless wait
Her choice in charmèd silence; she sweeps on.
Such holy confidence hath earth in heaven,
Her surety, that though favourite nay elect
Herself, now, all shall ultimately be blessed.
Thus intimate with time's deep things and high
They reigned, like regal angels. To his kin
All powers and pleasures he promulged; and rites,
Omen and augury hallowing, rayed round shrines
Where gods might worship; and beyond this, fed
His soul on secret wisdom, as on fasts
The spirit thriveth. These espoused, inspired
With their own harmonised perfections, lived
Long while in bliss and honour, each content
With faith--life, mythic, vast; all arts to them,
All science ancillary. But ah! in fine,
And in the heel of time which treads us down,
There came a change. The wrong was surely man's;
For nature fails not; but how none hath shown.
Whether a too approving smile misled,
Dim her ascent but brilliant in her fall,
Some emulative handmaid; and what first
Seemed zeal to serve grew rivalry to please;
Or fair confederates, faultless till they fell,
Made strength vaunt of his failure; this we know;
Imperfect wearieth of perfection sole.
So he, the keystone loosed of loyalty,
Lapsed from his liege love, warps his heart from her,
Beauteous and bounteous as a sovereign saint;
And to a thousand lax and painted arts,
Of barren glitter and unholy wiles,
Like sultan flaunting through his gay hareem,
Flowered with the carnal beauties of all climes,
Vows the idolatrous homage of his lips.
His home he left, and leaving, lost his rights
O'er nature's secret treasures; for in belief
Walking no more; nor with the miracles
Himself of old, divine magician, wrought,
Faith instigating, and storied in the stars,
Earth's holy primer, versant; he, in art's
Sensuous conceits, or idol imagery,
Lewd solace seeks; or else with science, guide
Guideless, self--nominated, through life's wide maze
Roams with no saving clue. Keys all in vain,
He forges; locks he forces; nought is there.
In vain conjures the elements; these are born
Of nature's household, and are sworn to her;
No mysteries, now, soul--thrilling, prodigies all
Repressed or ridiculed, faith made thrall to fact,
And life, well nigh sabbatic wholly, once,
With scarce one hour left of a holy day.
His tongue hath lost the simple spell of truth.
Neither believing nor believed, he roams,
Peaceless and powerless, round his forfeit realm,
Free, though as outcast. Yea, till he redeem
His troth to nature, she who was his queen,
Ere consort, and at her immaculate feet,
Whiter than moonlit water, shall lay down
For aye his falsehoods, brave through penitence, rest,
Nor holy home, shall ever again be man's.
Festus. Neither was nature perfect, as I thought.
Clara. Oh, is it possible thou hast never known
How both derived their fates? Wilt hear?
Festus. Proceed.
Clara. Yon sun, just set, all seeing, all beseen,
Filling the sacred seven and urns of fire,
Had, time unlimited, lived debarred of life
Soul--hallowed; when our God, his kind intent
Now agefully matured, all things prepared,
Incorporated its spirit, and for mate
Made him the lucid moon, now rolling round
His disk immense, at fatal distance doomed.
O Sun, O Moon, king of the skies and queen;
Hero and heroine of the universe, ye;
Lovers divine, daughter and son of God,
How shall a feeble, humble tongue like mine
Your fall sublime, sad but illustrious lapse,
To mortal mind convey? Free were they both
To roam the skies; or, if forbidden aught
Were named in heaven's infinitude, so vast
Their spatial liberty, no laws they knew.
But written within the book divine of fate
One law there was. For ages unconceived,
They nothing knew but light unshadowed, life,
Love, liberty, all unhaunted, undeformed
By one divisive moment, or mere fear;
Till, in the plains celestial wandering once,
And heaven till then no happier orbs embraced,
A radiant path as though by feet of gods
Trodden, star--littered, as earth with golden seed
Autumnal, on the gleaner's yellow road,
They neared; and where it brightly branched in twain,
One listless moment separated.
Festus. Alas!
Thenceforth one sole tradition streaks time's stream,
From the dumb ages of the passed, to truth's
Eternal future. Ah yes, I see the sun
Unguarded, now betrayed, incarcerate, bound,
Blinded, insulted, mocked, to incessant toil
Doomed, wageless; bound; now, ready to be slain
In bonds on heaven's high hill; yea, see him at last,
Smote by the star--bear's wide and wintry wound,
To yearly death, set 'neath the snake--wreathed pole,
Hiding in Hadean tomb, his disrayed crown.
Tales though traditionary, still hopeless not.
For again I see him majestic and serene,
Though suffering from the unkindly detriment
Which earthly nature treacherous him hath wrought.
He quits the aërial desert; lifts his head
Glad, like wrecked swimmer, shorewards, and salutes,
As with a kiss of fire our hallowed earth,
The threshold of his old abode the heavens.
Once more in heaven, the reascendent light
Beams from the burning cross which marks his course
Triumphant over lessening night; once more
The lord of nature lifts his conquering brow
As though from death eterne.
Clara. These lovers twain
For a space though separated, I said, full soon
Their spheral courses recombining, came
To the vast portal of a luminous fane
Guarded by living forms of shapes unknown,
But void within. A vacant throne was all
The dome sublime contained; upon whose steps
A star--scaled serpent slumbered. Roused--
Festus. No more!
If only as some cloud--giant hurled from heaven,
And vapouring as he falls, thy words to me
Seem threatful of time future, and my mind
Give sensible unease. Peace will lastly come,
Howe'er disseverance loving souls may grieve.
The wise well know true union is in heaven,
And there alone.
Clara. It may be.
Festus. Types of truth,
These pressed upon creation through all spheres
Material, mental, by God's hand and seal:
Truths which time's ear for ages hears with awe
Servile, nor knows their meaning; as earth stunned
With thunders, said, of gods; till some sage earns
Heaven's humble secret; and from man's freed mind
The fiery fiction fades. Think thou no more
On ill--houred apologue or of man or star.
Hear rather thou what glads me to have seen
Trance--wise, a bright miraculous mystery
Of God; a vision worth all sequels lost
Of love estranged. The great reunion hear:
The divine marriage of the moon and sun.
The sun was flaming high in heaven; the moon
Mighty though mild, and all the saintly stars
Beaming at once in grandeur and grave joy.
'Twas the world's All--Sire gave the bride. The Hours,
Companions of her course, forewrit on high,
And all its sevenfold Sanctities, virgin peers,
Were her immortal bridemaidens; and strewed
On her white way, by many a mansion lamped
With festive radiance, astral wreath, and robe,
Girdle, and palm--branch,--palm, sole tree that greens
Both heaven and earth, to where in dayless time,
Degreeless space, her absolute home, prepared
Nigh to the infinite, stood. Struck loud their lyres
Of light, the angels; and to the feet of those
Divine ones bowed them, as to spirit and soul
Conjoined, of things celestial; with acclaim
Ecstatic, far off hailing each and crying,
Welcome thou lord, thou bride of light; all joy
In everlasting being be yours; and all
The universal blesser, God, can give.
Choicest of all the chosen, thy love is more
To the soul delicious than, to scent, the rose,
Purer than is the lily or is the light.
Lord of the dawn, thee now the wearied world
Awaits; earth's eyes with watching for this day
Fail. The bread's broken and the wine is poured,
And all the guests are gathered, from the bounds
Of heaven's imperial horizon, to this,
Our bright palatial centre. All things serve
The hallowing rite, which nature owns with God.
And so they became one. In golden he,
In silver car came she, down the blue skies.
But on return they clomb the clouds in one;
And vanished in their snow. The marriage feast
Was held, throughout the intelligible world,
An universal holiday; all now 'lumed
With light than sunlight softer, than the moon's,
Mightier and more intense; nor since have ceased
The great congratulations. Peace and love
Pervade the perfect state, and all is bliss.
Clara. True prophet mayst thou be. But list; that sound
The passing--bell the spirit should solemnise;
For, while on its emancipate path, the soul
Still waves its upward wings, and we still hear
The warning sound, it is known, we well may pray.
Festus. But pray for whom?
Clara. It means not. Pray for all.
Pray for the good man's soul
He is leaving earth for heaven,
And it soothes us to feel that the best
May be forgiven.
Festus. Pray for the sinful soul;
It flëeth, we know not where;
But wherever it be let us hope;
For God is there.
Clara. Pray for the rich man's soul;
Not all be unjust, nor vain;
The wise he consoled; and he saved
The poor from pain.
Festus. Pray for the poor man's soul;
The death of this life of ours
He hath shook from his feet; he is one
Of the heavenly powers.
Pray for the old man's soul;
He hath laboured long; through life
It was battle or march. He hath ceased,
Serene, from strife.
Clara. Pray for the infant's soul;
With its spirit crown unsoiled,
He hath won, without war, a realm;
Gained all, nor toiled.
Festus. Pray for the struggling soul;
The mists of the straits of death
Clear off; in some bright star--isle
It anchoreth.
Pray for the soul assured;
Though it wrought in a gloomy mine,
Yet the gems it earned were its own
That soul's divine.
Clara. Pray for the simple soul;
For it loved, and therein was wise;
Though itself knew not, but with heaven
Confused the skies.
Festus. Pray for the sage's soul;
'Neath his welkin wide of mind
Lay the central thought of God,
Thought undefined.
Pray for the souls of all
To our God that all may be,
With forgiveness crowned, and joy
Clara. Hush! for the bell hath ceased;
And the spirit's fate is sealed;
To the angels known; to man
Best unrevealed.
Festus. Stay; what wouldst say, yet? Something, surely, sad
Darkens thy mind's disk. Speak it.
Clara. Nay, not sad.
Some other time.
Festus. Why now, love.
Clara. Well then thus.
These vast unearthly powers thou hast, thou saidst
I should myself for once partake. Let me
Assure mine own heart they be innocent.
Refused, I judge them evil; if harmless they,
Thou wilt permit me share, or view, the means.
This ask I therefore, not from vain desire
Of prying into mysteries, nor as test
Of words of thine; for thee believe I truly:
But as a proof of love and harmlessness,
To view with these same marvelling eyes of mine,
The sensible form of some obedient sprite,
Or invocable angel. Wilt thou?
Festus. Ay.
Wouldst parley Luniel on her silvery seat,
Or the star--tiared Ourania? for the night
Deepens in heaven; and even now I see
Earth's cardinal world--watchers, each prepare
His wing to poise for paradisal flight,
Relieved by darker angel.
Clara. None of these.
Behold yon star just trembling into light.
Hath it a tutelar spirit?
Festus. Yea, every star.
Clara. Prepare thy spell then. I would see its form;
And hear its voice.
Festus. Weird charm nor spell I use;
Nor incantation. My sole magic, might.
Mine only sign, this; this my spirit ring.
Prayer, faith, and a pure heart can draw down heaven.
Most surely then one star. Kneel thou with me.
Spirit of yon star, that now
Peer'st through God's all--clothing sky,
List, we need thee here below;
Leave thy mystic light on high.
By the all--compelling name,
Thought alone, but uttered never;
Word in heaven and earth the same,
Come thou now, and come thou ever.
Clara. I feel a light, a voiceable power.
Festus. Arise!
What wilt thou of't?
Clara. Nought. Let it speak.
Festus. Attend.
Star Spirit. Man's vital frame of the elements is ta'en;
And when by sacred energy of mind,
He nature's robe can thread by thread unwind,
Till death's proved nothingness, show sunwise plain
Life's allness; heaven's true science then ye gain;
Learn how God yearns all souls in bliss to bind;
How, too, through heaven and angels, stars and earth,
He, All--Sire, bounteous, wise as just, through light,
Light natural and intelligible which springs
From Deity, both, eternal outflowings,
Spread through the universe of death and birth,
Sweet surety of immortal essence brings
To spirit advised of reason infinite,
And ultimate content of all living things.
For as even all mere existence hath due worth,
End justified by God, who caused to be;
So, knit together by wisest amity,
Plant, planet, star, gem, life instinctive, life
Angelic; all, man's soul, by like decree,
Teach, each through noble or virtuous quality,
The whole with order, goodness, happiness rife,
His being and progress through eternity.
Know mortal, then, that with or gem or flower,
Love's glance, or earth--lent ray of farthest star,
To such as, faith--led, seek in doubt's dark hour
Truth, holiest influences may be, yea are;
And gracious interchange of special power.
Clara. Star--spirit, it is so.
Star Spirit. Who his soul--path knows
To the one universal Spirit, and rightly seeks
How long or sore soe'er his struggles, falls,
Relapses, shall, by penitent labour nerved,
And in spirit refreshed by heavenly counsels brought
By the angel of the day, who gives to God
His hourly record of men's deeds, at last,
Soul--perfectness enjoy; his life's long course,
With all best purposes strengthened,--as a stream
Sea--bound, that with a thousand rills empowered
No meet recipient save the main knows; summed
In the eternal Good.
Festus. So be it with all.
Clara. Oh I have gazed on spiritual beauty, known
Till now, by none.
Festus. Let both rejoice in truths
We may hold, loyally, supreme. As when
Before some mighty suzerain, crowned of God,
A vassal sultan, tribute to discharge,
Or homage yield, kneels, resolutely content;
Nations kneel with him, and in his prostrate brow,
A people of pride kiss dust; so I, with all
Truth--lovers, though a half--tribe scarce of man,
And dizzied yet with soul--light, Spirit, to thee.
Thy starry name?
Star Spirit. Pneumaster.
Clara. Where dost dwell?
Star Spirit. I in my star abide, yet oft in heaven.
Not where the ante--formal seraphs beam,
Nor cherubim with countenance winged; who round
Heaven circling, as with whirlwind wings of light,
A holy and living throne for the Spirit, form,
All--hallowing; but where sainted souls attain,
Heroical; chanting now, God's mercy thrice
Victorious o'er all worlds sin--treasoned, sworn
To evil and vanity; who the mysteries now
Of wisdom hymn, the holy inspiring light
Which Deity sows in nature and in stars,
Sows, reaps, and in men's souls replants, blessed heirs
Of either world, above beloved, below
Accepted; now, with guardian spirits of spheres,
Angelical and elect, mixed, I, too, serve;
All orders of each other inpenetrant, now;
For, by the fall of Lucifer, pride's no more,
If e'er in heaven; in heaven, as now on earth,
Humility, highest of all virtues, known.
I thus at thy behest, immortal, come
To obey a mortal's will, thine own, whose sleep
The angels guard, with dreams bestarred, of heaven;
Dreams that oft check, with suspensory charm,
The wing of wandering heavenly; dreams I ask
To inspire, then, on mine own bright ray return.
Clara. Holy and lovely sprite, be thou with God.
Star Spirit. Cherished of heaven, earth's choicest souls, farewell!
Clara. Farewell, too, thou.
Festus. Adieu, sweet soul; may night,
Earth's healing shadow, from her sphere--bright form
Unfolded virtuously, thy soul release
From all ill, all defect; that so through dreams
Thou mayst in spiritual Edens taste the joys
Anticipative, thou hopest, and feel the sense
Of heavenly patterned powers, whereof day owns
But a mean, blenched, copy. Go; I do commend thee
To all good angels, maiden; and if so much
I love thee, yet I dare not as I would.
For all the heart most longs for, most deserves,
Passes the soonest and most utterly.
The moral of the world's great fable, life.
All we enjoy seems given but to deceive,
Or, may be, undeceive us; and when done
The sum and proved, why work it over again?
They are gone, the heavenly and the earthly. I,
As a lone column, cold in sunshine, stands
Projecting darkness only,--around me cast
Soul--saddening shadows. What, indeed, is life,
This life--world, Lord! wherein thou hast founded me,
But a bright wheel which burns itself away,
Benighting even night with its grim limbs
When it hath done and fainted into darkness?
For say we are promised life immortal, how
Even then shall we exist? Hath soul a soul
Grosser without, and spiritual fine within?
Are grades in deathlessness, and bounds which mark
From existence essence, as in our bodily frame
Flesh seems but fiction, for it flies away;
While this, the gaunt and ghastly thing we bear
In us, and hate, and fear to look upon
Is truth;--in death's dark likeness limned, truth sole?
Both perishable, impermanent both. No more!
Dark, wretched thoughts, like ice--isles in a stream,
Choke up my mind, and clash; and to no end.
In spite of all we suffer and do enjoy,
All we believe we know, and deem we have proved,
There comes this question, over and over again;
Driven into the brain as a pile is driven;
What shall become of us hereafter? What
Is't we shall do? how live; how feel; how be?
For granting us not perfect here, nor ill
Wholly, shall soul be moveless after death?
Or shall't be all one dread remembrance crushed
Into a being, unfutured save of woe?
And so conserved by burning memory, poured
In on the mind, that saving we would lose;
Life's pettinesses, futilities, trivial cares,
That, like the lava--floods which choked of yore
The city Cyclopaean, brimming up,
As with torrent brass its mighty mould, our own
Annoy we perpetuate? And shall the passed
Thus ruinously perfected e'er remain;
Our grandest moiety of being, our soul's
Capacities for more good and greater power,
Than life allows, unused? Or ends death all,
With his despiteful trick? Like snow which lies
Down wreathed round the lips of some black pit,
Thoughts, which obscure the truth, accumulate;
Which solve it, in it lose themselves. There's no
True knowledge till descent; nor then, till after.
What shall make visible truth as 'tis in God?
We glimpse the light through medium dense or clear,
As reason rarifies, and yet so distort
That through the smoky glass of sense, the sun
All--blessing, scarce would know himself. So with truth.
Lucifer. Life is the one great truth; the fiction, death.
Art never satisfied? Must thou still, and aye,
Revel in bootless questings?
Festus. Lo, I speak
To heaven, and earth makes bold to answer me.
It is better, too, than silence. What, if stars
Invoking, earth now, in forbiddance stern,
Rumbles her caverned threatenings at my feet!
Or midnight clouds low muttering in long lines
Uncomprehended thunders, stun mine ear?
Call'st thou this power?
Lucifer. Yon pretty little star
Shines, methinks, on a vasty falsehood. Power
Thou hast o'er finite agencies, but none,
I tell thee, over the infinite. Confess
Therefore unjust presumption, and receive
Obediently meet means. What wouldst thou do?
Festus. I sicken of this mean and shadowy nature
And shallow life.
Lucifer. Well; is death deep enough?
Festus. Life uneternal's nought. All life's in God.
My heart's blood is in ebb. Not rarely I think,
The sameness 'tis, and tameness of the times,
Prostrates my spirit. I want an upward change.
What do they in the asteroids? What in the orb,
Whose months are years of earth? But more, I'd see
The roots of Hanokh, earth's metropolis
Cain built in Nodland; see the fanes and tombs
Of buried states; cities of wicked gods,
Clouded with profane incense, now 'neath sea,
Whelmed, and washed out.
Lucifer. Be it as thou wilt. In time
Thou shalt know many a mystery.
Festus. This I know;
I have been told, and taught, and trained to pray.
I pray, and have no answer: may, as well
Wrestle with the wind. I feel as might a cloud,
Which, on the golden threshold of the skies,
Fearing to rise, and fainting, men suspect
As a spy of night; when it had but to soar,
And with its excellent beauty ravish earth.
Lucifer. There's reason now and then in similes.
Souls are like clouds, born of the infinite stock
Of ever formless essence, and their race
In bounteous beauty run, or ruinous storm;
Objects of love and gladness, or of ill,
And wrong and wrath, as nature predicates;
Which, having blessed or blasted in their life,
Die, and rejoin the universe, to rise
Like emanant dew on earth, in future forms
Of retributive nature; she herself
Being, and doing, and enduring, all.
Festus. This life is as a question, to which comes
No audible answer, save an echo.
Lucifer. Hark!
Festus. Where thou art all is dumb. I would repent.
What shall be done to expiate offence?
Lucifer. Well, sacrifice a butterfly to the wind.
As soon expect thy life's flood--tide to rise
Out of death's baseless depths, depths yet by me
Unplumbed, as look to be wise and innocent, both.
Heart up! If virtue loses, wisdom wins.
And evil and good, like the light's rays traversed
By bandlets black, or chequered chart of old
Sun dedicate, show originally immixed.
Festus. Good to extract from evil were not hard;
Ill transmute into good, were science, cross
And crown. Such would I mine.
Lucifer. It is not in man.
Set clouds on fire; go sow the sea with sand;
Then reap your crop of foam, and harvest it.
Festus. The time shall come when every evil thing
From being and remembrance both shall die;
The world one solid temple of pure good.
Lucifer. Never, while thou art conscious of thyself.
Never till from that shining sheaf of days,
Behind him, God the annihilator shall pluck
Earth's death--day, and his wrath burns white for aye.
Festus. Let all the earth be lightning, the dark blue
Of ever--stretching space substantial fire;
Still God is good; still tends o'er those he loves.
Lucifer. Why therefore comes no answer to thy prayer?
Festus. It may be silence is the voice of God.
Lucifer. Assent, or dissent; whether of the twain?

Philip James Bailey's other poems:
  1. Festus - 35
  2. Festus - Proem
  3. Festus - 37
  4. Festus - 8
  5. Festus - 44

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