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Philip James Bailey (Филип Джеймс Бэйли)

Festus - 38

Union of God with nature man their son
Hymns; and heaven thanking for all earthly good
Perfected in humanity, with his bride,
Sibylline, he,--as prophet bards of old
Their morn and noontide service,--chants, alterne,
Earth's evensong, earth's vespers; night at hand.
Hope of the wise and good through time, the world
Shown bettered, but by virtue's noblest plans
Thought out of genius, and through patient aid
Of brethren, saintliest lovers of their kind,
So patent made, the holy and sage at last
For their best aims and worthiest deeds dare hope
God's sanction. Still, let nature grieve, as wont:
Man, woman, angel, weep earth's coming end;
End that so chosen shall show earth's final race
Still parted; these self--ranged to serve God's will;
These, contrary, their own ends; fate still, by death
Not,--as ill deemed--unalterable. God just,
God kind, accepts, all penitence, at all times.
Garden Terrace, by the Sea; Cliff and Wood near: Town in distance.
Festus and Clara.
Festus. O days of heaven and earth, when all things seem
Perfection, issuant from some central soul
Whose life all love, all happiness, transfused
Through being we share, and in humane degree
Enjoy, nay more enhance; for man's delight
In virtue and holy thought redounds to God's.
And as heaven's calm immense, intense, the wind
Ceaselessly operative pervades, and so
Faintly to us, God's mode of being conveys
And action spiritual, we too the more
By deed of mind we range the world, and rise
To thought serene celestial, and devote
Our spirits to inmost commune with his works;
In him our source confessed, our base in them;
Knowing the duties, destinies of souls;
Self--charged their wellbeing to promote, and train
The immortal up towards deity, so far
Do we God's work, and bear the stamp divine
Of perfectness, progression. To perceive
Our oneness with the universe, and feel
The joyous mystery which each special life
Binds to the conscious infinite immasked
In its own creations, brings the intuitive soul
Such fine delight as simple gods of old
Pleased cheaply, felt, who budged unseen the streets
Of cities dedicate; and beside some shrine
Hearkening their names invoked, and scenting myrrh
Or nard, bewrayed their presence with a smile,
Men took for playful lightnings, such as cast
From Pallas' filial hand gleam wide,--but home
Returned, find every prayer they had prayed fulfilled.
The soul self satisfied of being which knows
The absolute spirit and infinite; on whose head
Their holy hands the ages have imposed,
Teeming with sevenfold boons; who through himself
Feels flow the vital and invisible force
Which to its will compels all, but through all
Makes harmony of its most tyrannous laws,
Subjection grateful; even in wild extremes,
Beauty inevitable; and,--though for a time
Ill, like some arrogant cloud that blurs the sun,
Through the wide welkin riot, at last good
Predominant o'er all evil, in man's heart
Mixed, as corruption serves to engender life
For better ends, he, like flower sweets to the sun
Light erst instilled, drawn Godwards, in whom souls
Forelive first as in cause pretemporal, rests
From toilful apprehension of the whole,
In spirit sabbatic; and the heavens and earth,
And various nature's sympathetic life
Each in their generations, hails divine.
Somewhat to feel in common with all life
Human, instinctive, vegetive, to trace
One vital force through life leaf light; the vast
Of nature's powers and products, or her fair
And delicate outgrowths; river, mountain, main,
Forest or floweret, gives the spirit access
To God a thousand ways; and so secures
His favourable acceptance as we make
Mention within our minds of all his good.
On wild and heathery turf to bask, or cool
Green sod of meads, or bloomy lawn where rose,
Laurel and lily cluster, loam--born scents
With flowery incense mingling; to recline
Dreamy and passive to all influences
Cloudlet and sun thrill through the sensitive breast,
By rivulets elm o'erarched, and lulling lapse
Of rippling wavelets glittering, and the oft
Redimpled eddy slowly concurrent; stretched
'Neath blos'my trees, gaze through their silvery snow,
On air's blue heights inviolable; to scale
Perilously some sheer browed cliff, that day's
Salvation thenceforth ne'er forgot, or cling,
Only not vanquished by the vindictive blast,
Prone to the craggy nape of giant peak,
Whence the rapt eye may crowd into its ball
A visioned kingdom; forth to steal at eve,
Grave tryst to keep with tutelar stars, and trace
Their prosperous walk through night; or mark them rise,
Till, with their fair reflection midst the lake,
They meet in tremulous joy; cave--hidden to watch
The moonlit cataract, sheeted like a ghost,
Muttering in awful monotone its one
Intelligible word of life; to list
Far off, the torrent's inarticulate roar
Blend with the storm--wind through the wood, till both
In those inaudible harmonies silence copes,
Die; to contest the strength of confluent streams;
The rushing rain to face, heaven's holy rite
Of sprinkling, oft to priest at nature's shrine
Serving, prelustrant; to imbreast the gale
Healthful, reanimative, the breath divine
Of the great world spirit, that where he will,
Blowing with aery baptism reimpregns
With new life principles man's sacred frame;
Desert and savage shore to roam, all thought
Feeling, strung tense by soleness, and the sense
Of high equality with aught create;
Star--like, to haunt wastes spatial, where alone
Mid clear aired wilds the sunfires purify
And founts rock smitten of God, the spirit sincere,
Insensible of limits, may grow to feel
Like broad simplicity; and learn to love
Of very lonesomeness the elements,
Our kingly kin tetrarchal, as the powers
That start all shapes, and close; uniting thus
Things sensible and things animate in one realm,
Our own heart's royalty;--thus aye to live
Part absolute of the world's essential cause,
Free, arbitrary; creative of all truth
Conviction, mental impress; in oneself
Enjoyer of the universe, co--mate
With nature's eldest dignities, self ordained,
Self consecrate, enthroned, is to regain
Our birthright from us filched by the false world,
Irreverent, mean; our heart to re--immerse
In being's primal font; our covenant faith
With nature reaffirm, and so accept
Absolvence by the eternal spirit from life's
Vain toils and deadening trivialities; renew
Our soul's first sacrament, and take in God
With mindful extasie to ourselves, and sense
Of the world--bosoming deity, who all
By reason made, in love sustains, and, just
In judgment, all will bless; 'tis to conceive
By force of vital sympathies the whole;
And be, and act through all; it is to feel
Our spirits collateral flow with time's broad flood,
Even as our heart's blood coursing aye, like pulsed
With earth's unhesitant streams; 'tis to possess
Souls self adjusted to the whole round of things,
The central life, the infinite. Man alone,
Conscious alike of nature and of God,
Brings both into communion; sanctifies
With sympathy the naked elements;
And--like the mediator he is, inspires,
Appreciative of all his blessings here,
That joy in God God's works enkindle in him.
When thus by wisdom's clearsight he first views,
With eye grown practised to the infinite,
Whether on mount, mid desert, or withdrawn
In chambered loneliness and studious calm,
Those inner spheres wherein dwell goodness, truth;
Peace, love, the inborn sense of God; and knows
That God subsists in virtue and holiness,
As in material forms the essential force
Impalpable, yet there,--which underlies
The common properties of things; 'neath all
Defect perfection; soul--spheres these that rule,
And mould this volatile world whose shows, that hour
Lift themselves lightly off mistlike, we find
Instamped through being's universal self,
Proof of our prime conception there; and here,
To such as love humanity, divine
Adoption; and, life's loftiest end to come,
A spirit regenerate, glorified, in full
Concord with God and nature. Such delights
Of sun, sea, hill, and bleak and windbleached wastes,
And silence superhuman of the skies,
Are in wise solitude as the drumming world
Knows not nor dreams of. Enter therefore thou
Into thyself, and be at one with God.
Thus being, we trueliest live. To will what's just;
To love what's pure; to seek man's peace as God's;
And aid his worthier aims; to feed on truths
Soul--liberating, supreme; our daily choice
Being such to assimilate, and to all commend
As gracious, saving, best, makes us in part
Celestial, and in ours inhearts the faith
Of everlasting being. Prophetic man
Who can foreset the stars their stations; winds
Weigh; and his own mind's virtues deify,
A larger, freer, happier, holier life
Shall lead than all the painful pietism
Of peddling sects could compass. God's great dower
To the accepted spirit of life eterne,
Seems in excess no more when those he loves
He with the fulness of perfection crowns,
The gift of his own nature; through the soul's
System so working that it is he who us
Capacitates to enjoy, and is himself
The enjoyment he confers; feast, host, guest, grace
And blessing; teaching that, with us, to strive
For heaven is heaven; to love God is to be,
Ourselves, divine. For as yon space spanning bow,
The miracle of a moment, which adorns
And seems all things to comprehend, earth, sea
And firmament made its debtors, proud to pay
Their subsidy of admiring joy, its end
Achieved, God's truth to certify, in the skies'
Boundless and formless unity disappears;
So, arched an instant on the eternal disk
Of life divine, man's soul,--embracing here
This world--frame in itself, each, but for heaven,
Baseless, incredible,--ceasing gradual, grows
With its object one; this death--conditioned life,
These vari--coloured pomps of transient time,
These elements of existence dropped, whose end
Is as was their beginning; and assumed
In plenitude of deity, and the immense
Seclusion of his essence, reattains
Identity with being still ours, once all.
Clara. How deeply doubly dear are beauties seen
Never enough, but now untimely lost.
Festus. It is this o'erglooms, o'erwhelms me. Life's best aims,
Seclusion's studious joys, conceptive mind,
Peopling the void with many a voice and shape
Of truth impersonate, heeding not alone
This day--wave on whose feathering ridge we ride,
But the wild world of billows bound to break
Yet on time's patient shore; home's daily dues;
The converse spoken or writ of a choice friend;
Words winnowed well of sages of the light,
Garnered in books, the elect of ages, crowned
By man's depurate judgment, have so long
Consoled me, so long made, still to me make,
With the delightful talk of one I love,
Society, and in rich exchange supplied,
For the tumultuous trifling of the times,
And their puffed out inanities, a retreat
Complacent, where the soul, of wisdom's charms
Fired, may the shades of kingly sages guest,
Earth's silver--shielded band of minds immortal,
The livelong day,--listing them sadly enlarge
On virtue and the good most high of life;
The passionless perfection of our race;
On being and becoming,--the eterne
Entangled in the temporal,--reason, truth
Essential, and divine fate;--or, though fixed,
Where fancy, palmer--wise, at will, may roam
The faëry fields of fiction and romance,
Alive with princely knights, queens, giants, churls;
Enchantresses steel castled, whose wan smiles
Win realms, but too soon, at a breath, dissolved:--
Or isles of song Elysian, trode by muse
Rose crowned, new ditties lilting day by day;--
That I, thus privileged, dare not deem me all
Unblessed, nor my Lord chide for good desired,
Withholden; rather, even as now, on life
Passed, calmly ruminant, on the unmeasured tracts
Of world--lore reaped; and death deriding truths,
Heaven--planted in man's soul, wrung by brave hand
Guided of angels, from the stifling clutch
Of unveracious faiths, 'tween God and man
Intrusive, but amended, sanctioned now
By the hallowing spirit, his disentangling hand
All life's knots smoothening, recognize; nay, him
More heartfully revere, who the free boon
Of everlasting union, sharing here
With whom he would, in arbitrary delight,
All lesser gifts discards, with one more grand
His favourites to consumm.
Clara. Hours such as these
To me, time's worthiest seem; yes, when we die,
Memory will bless those moments most in life
We passed in worship, drinking in the breath
Of the Great Spirit, who with his presence fills
Impalpably, the whole; but of whom the wise
Only aware, a life co--apt, within
His definite governance, live. Oh, I have felt
At such times as my heart had wings; nay, what
Lacked, that we took not flight at once, for heaven?
Festus. To know all these, life's purest, loftiest joys,
Commensurate even with mind, death--doomed; to feel
Earth hourly fail, might sadden us,--gloried not
Faith more in God's decree than man's desire.
Clara. Yon sun, whose sea--set here, to happier globes
Bodes light--birth; yon faint crescent, in the sky
Airily hovering, like to a spirit scarce 'scaped
From death--pyres still aglow; yon snow--piled peaks
Clouds pearly o'erfilm; all things invite, as though
On his own one day--paled half of sanctity,
Of joy half--God had smiled; to round with thought
Divine and meditative, on him who made.
Than that, nought fitter, nor more blessed, though earth
And we at the next breath, ceased. Having all we would,
Even as in heaven, free commune, Lord! with thee,
To whom all life instinctive, tree and flower,
Breathe, thankful for their being, praise; and hill,
River and grove, and high towered town, remote
Their universal hymn attune, let us
Our gratulant souls unite with nature's; we
As some their life--loved union, ours with God,
Thus, praiseful consecrating.
Festus. What need? As when
Midst summer's still noon we, cliff--chaired, view earth,
And sea, land--locked, lost in each other's arms,
Union ineffable; so of perfected souls,
One with the natural deity they adore;
God hears the unworded worship. Think on him.
Clara. Nature is free--tongued. All things need their word.
Yon clouds, these flowerets which perfume our feet,
In masses golden and azure and all hues,
In splendour with each other vieing, to me,
Day's dewy footsteps nightwards seem to grace
With notes of venerant praise. Blend we with theirs,
While those yet poise their delicate pinions, these
Their incense freelier pour, earth's vesper hymn!
Festus. Nay then, me fellow celebrant with thyself
Hold, priestess: for, nor shrine high roofed, with arch
Marmoreal, nor orbicular dome, need we;
Nor interpleading choir our spirits to guide
Godwards; between the immaculate heavens and us
No form its shadow casts. Soul--worship pure
Leaps at one infinite bound from prostrate hearts
Into God's bosom, where transmute it bides,
And with the eternal ones. Not these alone;
All things, O God, by thee made, are to thee
Holy, and with true praisefulness inspired;
Nature and all her powers, thy servitors,
Our friends and fellow--worshippers: and man,
Arch--priest of earth, most bounden thee to adore.
Thou, O great sun, whose life eliciting ray
But shadoweth forth his greater grace, who showers
On spiritual and natural world alike
His inexhaustless good: sun--kindler, him,
Sun--quencher, praise thou and adore, who thee
Fixed in full heaven his mighty miniature;
Him, infinite centre, unseen, from whose force
Original, radiate all things, and to whom,
Inly illumining every soul of life,
Parental, they relapse; even as thy beams,
Though world--soiled thine all brightening breast regain.
Sun, magnify thy maker!
Clara. Moon, whose gleam
Reflective, types the God--light, wherewith shines
Man's soul, lead thou, through each sabbatic change
That errant essence to One invariable;
And, as some pilgrim maid, from shrine to shrine
Circling, insatiate of all sanctities,
Her resolute soul to expand with fullest faith,
And holiest memories; teach us, light of night,
By thy superb procession through yon skies,
Mansioned with many a world of bliss, to enlarge
Our spirits with love of God, nor know of wane,
Save in the world's attraction; so best serving
Our Lord and thine.
Festus. Twin spheres, perpetual rest
This showing, pauseless motion that, between
Whose fires, for purifying, the storied day,
The night, earth's star tipped shadow pass, and space,
World spangled, 'neath whose sensible folds, his garb,
The formless spirit within we trace; your Lord
Attest, the eternal reason of the whole;
Hidden in himself, self manifestive cause;
Former of forms; who, source and sum of life
Bade being be; and, from his boundless deeps
Of reason, drew law primitive and supreme.
Ye orbs, self moved, which, rounding with our own,
The infinite within, without, yourselves
Find nought but God, oh, shout aloud your proofs,
All heavens may hear; and even the nebulous star,
Of pale, irresolute sheen, with fearful joy
Vibrant, conclude God is, our Lord, our Sire;
Not chaos, chance, nor matter; law inert,
Unconscious; nor yourselves, contingent, weak,
Who might have been, as now, or not have been.
Chance hurled him prostrate in the dusk when asked
The crucial question; chaos cowled his head
In twice redoubled darkness, witting nought;
Mute matter heard not; no! it was mind most skilled
All made by one omnific word; all named
His children; laid on every head his hand,
Whose radiant impress shows there still; and dowered
With natural life, second to nought save soul.
Wherefore, bright worlds, your parent spirit exalt;
Leap 'mid your solar dance; with awful mirth
Joy in yourselves and gladden in your God.
He through your space spread tome, of light and peace,
And fates more blessed than these, of rights divine
And heavenly royalties, his starry rede
To man predictive speaks, whose words are worlds.
Clara. Stars restful, who, day's dazzling veil withdrawn,
Heaven's sanctuary illume, your laws, powers, spheres,
Graduate, each gift of the variousness he sole
Holds in perfective fulness, reason of thanks
Past numbering, him, through all life mundane, adore
Harmoniously. Time's tawdry pageants pass.
States, empires come--pause, vanish. O'er yon hills,
Your globèd fires, in dread--fraught sameliness
Of time and place, rise punctual. Shall stars show
More than their founder, faithful?
Festus. Hear, all orbs,
Moveless, or who, persistent in extremes,
Course fast and far the firmament, and, ours quit,
Warm ye full oft by alien hearths; while proud
Of chaste and chartered liberties, your sire,
Source, force and end of every law by him
To creatures limited, he by all bonds unbound,
Above law, praise the Lawgiver; who poured ye forth
As from an urn of life; flooding with light
All space, but gave space, light, life, bound and scope;
Order divine, connate with heaven; and form,
First of all laws, whereby the immensurable,
To finite fitted, fills the organic whole:
Mirror material of substantive mind;
For nothing finite, nought conceivable
By us, can of itself be, more than God,
Beyond thought, to aught else existence owe.
Effect pretemporal of eternal cause,
Heaven in thy highest reach, thy starriest depth,
Thy bosom's inmost infinite, sanctify,
With thy voluminous silence him all wise;
Who, holding all perfections absolute
And necessary, as all conclusions time,
As space orbs, as earth nature's countless germs,
The great progressive power which prompts with life
Their self--renewing functions, and unseals
The flowing forces of this sensible sphere--
Aye tabernacleth in thee.
Clara. And thou, O earth,
Who movest in music, like a harper's hand,
White among gleamy chords, thine elements,
Stringed fourfold, laud him with all sounds of joy;
With joy august and dread, great mother world,
Whose veins within, the fire Promethean stolen
Truly of heaven, and him, who planned the plains
Ætherial, streams from unbeginning time
To time unending; cease not, earth, his praise,
Who in himself imbreasts both thee and heaven.
Festus. O heart of fire, which, central, towards our feet
Throbbest, through rock girders zone wide, and huge halls
Where stalactital mountains hang, and whence
Are fed the deep gorged volcanoes that erst scarred
With channelled flame--floods and hot torrent ore,
Earth's soft face, healing now; material shape
First looming, which, uncurbed and uncompressed,
Swept'st o'er the naked void, a burning mist;
Till, stiffened gradual, the constituent mass,
Once reek--like, severing into self--poised spheres,
In gravity rejoiced, space circling; him
Greet as liege loyal Master, who, of old,
On the high mount of world enlightening law--
For law is love defined--toward those who brake
So soon the tabled stones of blessing, tamed down,
And tempered into intolerable blaze,
The eye glance of his wrath; fire, praise thou God;
Earliest of worldly rudiments, and last;
Voracious even of death, though bodiless,
Though soulless. Retributive cause, him praise.
Clara. Grey ocean, folding in thine arms our earth
Still shrinking tremulous from the booming shock
Of thy foam--crested legions, laud the arm
Which, forceful, hallowed thine abysmal bed.
All not thine own, with other thronèd thieves--
Thou must yield up. What justice bids restore
In thy store count not. Neither quite despair.
The prayers of purity and of penitent sin
Like favourites be of God. He, righteous, reads,
As through a tear in nature's eye, thy deeps
Reluctant; and just restitution claims
From thee, from all, before acceptance. Night
And morn, thy voice, or tolling to repose
I hear, or whispering out of sleep. To earth's
Tongue, and all elements, join then, Ocean, thine;
Him equitable, only unsearchable, name.
Festus. Tides, that with tranquil transport woo the shore,
Or vehement rapture roused by passionate airs,
Clash, cymbalwise, your white hands. He is God
Who fashioned you, evoked you from the void
Impalpable of vapour, and with force
Mobile, as with resistless will endowed.
Spell over in every wave his words of love,
When first he taught you whence ye were; and when,
Wearied with vast librations to and fro,
And sparklings infinite, twinkling time away,
Your deep breasts heave with long and dreamy swell,
Let his dread name, untongued, initiate sleep,
And hallow all your calm.
Clara. Him, ebb and flood,
Now heaped in billowy darkness, now ungloomed
By streamy globelets of liquescent flame,
Like light chaotic struggling for free life,
Worship in all your width; who bade ye flow
From fountains elemental, and condensed,
In the cool concave of his spacious hand,
The world air limitless, wherein he breathed
All being into being. Laud your God.
Festus. Winds, tireless wayfarers of air, like aged
With the beginning, his all fatherly lips
Bless, that from dull vacuity woke ye, now
Laden with death tempestuous, but with wafts
Oftener of his world vivifying breath,
Who matter into movement touching, gave ye
To rove the earth as spirits space: his name
In secret sigh as lovers wont, therewith
All elements divinizing; and while ye sweep
Earth in bland waves aërial, gales health--rise,
The white wheat winnowing for high granaries,
A life--whole benediction breathe. What less
Can creature its Creator give? What more?
Him whirlwinds, hurricanes, wild winged storms, confess,
Earthquakes, and powers pernicious; that the breast
Of this fair orb have rent aforetime; nor
This sole; but once disrupting into space
Our midmost planet, shot, diffuse through void,
A shower of falling worlds; just judgment;--praise
Destructive him, him recreative, who yet
Those shattered world--shards shall restore, conglobed
In innocent unity, and to happier life
Their intercursive tenants. Meteors, him,
And lightnings, laud with thunders thousandfold,
Who do his bidden hests, and justify
God's dealings, when beneath high bannered tent,
The feastful conqueror, thunder riven, down drops
Before his guests astound; or, on his throne,
Struck by a falling star, loosed from God's hand,
The tyrant, curse incarnate, suddenly ends
In face of all the land he had outraged. Him,
Agents of wrath and angels of his ire,
Laud, who, too, slays with uncompassionate bolt
Shepherd and sheep blameless alike, in shade
Of weathering crag, death dreamed not of, nor ill;
Praise him, nathless, that man's whole race may know
Submiss, prepared, the incomprehensible One;
Who in himself all motives, means, and ends,
Compriseth, first and final cause of things.
Nor by necessity he, nor dubious choice
Of specious good, acts; but the best wills, does,
As absolute viewed, now, relative or eterne.
Clara. Snow, with thy voiceless tongue, from either pole
To zenith, preach in godliest silence God;
Who ice and frost, thy sterner brethren, armed
With glassy key to lock earth's lifewarm veins;
Praise him reanimative. Thy glistening down,
Thy blossoming starlets, thy crystalline flowers,
White as the wing of angel waved in heaven
Only, shed thankful. God exalts the pure.
On peaks sky peering, and earth's orbèd brow
Upturned as in God's arms, thy Lord adore.
Festus. Night's dazzling dancers, tall--speared, which invade
Air northward, with explosive rays, the stars'
Pale armies routing breathless, and sure morn
Confounding with false outbursts; ominous once
Of imminent battle strife, fear's restless ears
Deafening with clash imaginary of arms;
With all your fiery tongues, lambent of heaven,
Peal forth to God your resonant thanks, that ye,
Mere militant maskers known, men now your play
With curious questings mark, and cheerful awe;
For knowledge hath undreaded ye; no more
Prefigurative of war. Haste, days of peace,
Humanity's perfection, peace; our path
Convergent with divinity, there; oh, haste.
Man shall be one in spirit as God is one.
Our God is Lord of peace.
Clara. Breathe, glittering bow,
All hued, ere burst, as though from beauty o'ertense,
Thy brief, bright life throughout, one solemn thought;
God's oath, how thankworthy; the passed passed by;
Which, sparing earth, thee special witness hight,
Man's heart to reassure 'gainst ruining storms;
While far beyond, bides aye the intent divine
Of precreative love. Him, bow of heaven,
God's holy oath made visible here, adore.
Festus. Laud him ye cloudlets snow--bosomed, which morn
Or eve serve, golden robed; or, rich in rain,
Blend tearful blessings with the reviling blast;
Praise ye, whose life expends itself in good,
The source surceaseless of all blessings. Hymn
Your God, while hurrying on wing--footed winds,
His messages of mercy to scorched lands
Dreaming of violet wreaths, dew soaked, to cool
Their sun seared breasts, and widening deserts strew
With riot of rank greenery; or, when slow
Beneath the moon, ye swoon away utterly,
Earth breathing lightlier then; each blade and bloom
Bedropped with fragrant moist; cheer ye; your life
Culmines in death; for, from your birth--hour, known
Of no man, midst the black Atlantic, wroth
At ancient bans ignored, which betwixt old
And young world barred alliance, now with coils
The voiceable lightnings dart through, perfected,
Till life's last moment, God your whole career
Sums in his eye's broad purpose. What, round heaven,
Hath seemlier honour? Praise him for your end.
Clara. Storm breasting cliffs, whose feet, earth stained, the deep
Laveth, as with the humility of a god;
Oh! of that steadfast strength make much, your Lord
Hath sunken you in and grounded you, as signs
Of his unshaken truth, against whose face
The spray of years from time's unnumbered tides,
Dashes in vain. Rocks, glory in your host;
Earth framer he who hath kinged you with his name,
And ta'en your own; whose guests are ye for life;
And then, make room.
Festus. Ye too, who sit serene,
Firstborn of earth and ancients of the snow;
Time's youthmates; mountains, solemn as God's thoughts
Pondering the chain of being, life with life
Linked in connatural lineage round to him;
Praise ye his favouring hand, who in earth's murk breast
Moulded your giant forms; who, age by age,
Tried ye with flood, and tested ye with fire;
Proved ye with darkness; racked ye patiently,
As schooling for perfection; and at last,
Crowned and consummate in all mysteries,
Led into sacred light, the outmost court
Of God's invisible temple, whose dome is life,
Whose sanctuary the soul; him, aye at rise
And set of sun, when comeliest ye appear,
In fiery albs arrayed and burning snows,
To adore fail not; for he in your most pure
Beauty delights; and to his heavenly eye,
Whose loveliness shows boundless as his love,
All beauteousness is holy. Laud ye him,
Whose mystic name heaven, secret and sublime,
Hath yet to you assured. Him praise, too, plains,
Teeming with succulent life, glebe, glade, and lea,
With homeliest blossoms blushing now, with fruit,
Boughed soon delicious; or solemnized with corn;
Confess who blessed you with the privilege man
To banquet: man, earth's king.
Clara. Coy valleys, lisp
Well pleased, your thanks, that God's attempering hand
Hath smoothed ye meet for happiest ends, and made
Shadows substantial of the calm which broods,
Welkin--like, o'er those upper deeps of soul
Vain worldling sounds not, nor pride's keel profanes.
Gush into song, shy nooks; dells fall and swell,
With every deep pulsation of earth's heart,
Into melodious praise, even as joy's eye
Melts in the measureless relief of tears.
Him whose ordaining hand your solitudes
Hath given to peace, adore: who heaved the hills,
Your dales too delved as deep.
Festus. Vine mantled knolls,
Whence 'stils the grape blood choicest juice that charms
God's tabled round, the earth; him, palm plumed vales,
Where glow all fruits of tropic fame; and fields
That temperate taste, the palate's luxe, rules; him,
Hot wilds of herbage sparse; all healing roots,
And wholesome poisons; spice and incense; all
For our sustenance and delight which fructify,
Or flourish bosky; laurel, myrtle, and bay;
Oil--olive, guide to wisdom, pledge of peace;
Gum, balm, acacia's sinless branch, and myrrh;
Pour forth your sweet breath'd thanks, till starry earth,
Still fair, still dear, still in her matron prime,
With thickening odours cloud her sacred path,
Like a swung censer through the templed skies.
Clara. Bloom bedded pleasances, where leisured taste
Luxuriates, as in recollected dreams
Of life prenatal in God's garden; him,
How fair, the beautifier of all worlds,
Worship; and all ye plants, well nurtured, praise;
Who quickened you from dark and obdurate seed;
Suppled with balmy showers your growthful roots;
Gave daily dews; tapered your shapely stems
In his fine fingers; with free foliage clad,
Pendent and plenteous; starred your heads with flowers,
Crosswise or radiate; praise him with meek pride.
It was his considerate touch your bosoms bathed
With heaven's translucent hues; your heart--buds dyed
In sunsets paradisal; steeped your leaves,
One moment, in aetherial scents; and streaked
With veinlets velvet lined, your nectarous cups;
None less, none else. O virgin lily, queen
Of flowers, immaculate, vaunt, with all thy kin
Most delicate, vaunt, not less than forest oaken,
Or cedarn, fane--famed, ebon, sandal, rose;
Settim, God's ark, or gopher, man's, his hand;
Nor shadowy pine copse, soundless as the void.
Festus. Fair fountains, rainbow haunted, art hath voiced
Through marble lips, and 'mid palatial courts
Bade whisper God's great name; you that, like strings
Of liquid silver, ripple 'neath nature's touch,
In lifeful melody; and, through daisied banks,
By your own sweet song solaced, seek your end
In joy unlessenable: and you, tameless springs,
Froth flecked, that seawards gash the plashy moor;
Or rush, rock maddened, adown deep jagged ravines,
Chant, murmurous him; him, rill and runnel praise.
Clara. Praise him, ye rivers, vastening as ye roll
From ice cleft or turfed slope to where the main
Lurks watchful, with your waters soft and sweet,
To slake his lips salt parched, and tribute seize
In kind of his liege loves; and you, from heights
Flush with the eagle's eyrie, plunging, death
Scorning as life, for are not ye immortal?
And you, from chasmy and glacial wilds, death--white,
Or pine clad gore, leaping, cloud shrouded; praise
His name who on your first precipitous steps,
And pretty stumbling falls smiled stealthily;
Your infant course mapped; fed with milky mists;
And, guiding to good ends the waywardest course,
Those swift, still feet subservient made to bear
Treasures of sap to meadland, swathed in sward,
Or leagues of grain, heart strengthening; all the sun,
Of annual growth, or root perennial, helps
Mature, with you, praise him for.
Festus. Seas, land ringed,
Primaeval ocean's relics, and ye fresh
And lucid lakelets, where the stark fisher, man,
First floated his rough raft, and the mud hut
He, beaverlike, had builded, fortified;
Or where, hard by, the cave--born savage left
His liberal bones to mell with those he had gnawn;
Rejoice, and bless your Maker, that in your breast
Lie glassed now cities and castled palaces,
Wood nested cots, rich mansions, gold topped fanes,
And seats of science; while o'er your faces skim
Barks self impelled, art's noblest, manliest feat.
God, necessary in essence, in will free,
Because illimitable, and free to free
From general law his special will and ours,
Power self determinative, through all his works
In apt proportions acts to ends well planned;
Rules rudest nature by dynamic law,
Spatially operative; his own designs
Oft modifying by like wise; empowers
Organic being with instinct; but to mind
Leaves liberty of motive; and himself
Conceals, to allow to man and angel scope
Accountable. Let all life praise its Lord
Therefore; of beasts, if tamed, as God's claimed once,
Ours now, whose inoffensive natures he,
Most amiable, as ensamples chose of his
All suffering deity; laud him, end and head
Of sacrifice; if wild, his prescience praise,
Which would not mean should nobler strains restrict.
Dwellers in ocean's wave roofed halls, who range,
Constant, from shoal to deep, from deep to shoal;
Him worship, heavenly husbandman, who drives
Yearly his star--plough o'er the brine, and seeds
Its furrows with your innumerous hosts of life.
Cloud haunters, ocean now, the skies anon
Enthralling, greet him gratefully who gave
Your strength despotic, and powers of threefold use;
Wave cradled, riding winds, land tripping; hail
Your Maker irresponsible, who all being
Founded, not found made, and so justified.
Clara. And you, bright song birds, whose felicitous lives
In flight, thought--swift, and music sweet as love,
Heart--harmony, elapse; song, even and morn,
Concerted, trill, grateful to him who grants
Your innocent souls earth's luxuries, and in life
Here, something like the liberties of heaven.
Festus. Your kind with force, choice honoured, and so allied
By nature's lord to the world's conscious sense
And rational energy, him, ye serpent seed,
Skin sloughing, witness annual of new birth;
Him, too, ye insect tribes, thrice--lived, who joy
In natural resurrection, and fulfil
The cycle of being, glorified with wings;
Of luminous bodies, ye; or, honeyed swarms,
In politic craft pre--eminent, and sage use
Of toil divisional with constructive skill,
Praise; praise ye gay broods, dawn--born, night--slain, air
With filmy winglet fanning; nor yet grieve. Death,
Impatient not for you alone, secures
In his dark couch, after life's giddying reel,
A sequel undisturbed. Ye animate motes,
Uneyeable, whose curt existence we
Laugh into nought at every breath; yet deem
Your Maker bounteous. Life, how scant soever,
Seems good, as loaned of God, whose arm all space
Outspans, whose eye all mirrors.
Clara. Him, then, hymn,
O universal nature, passive power
Of deity, which, with the minutest thing
Subsistent, owest thyself totally to God;
The whole embracing in thy boundless breast;
Our world--sire praise; while yet immortal man,
The intelligible light, silent, within,
Shall clearlier hear than though each atom spake;
Or every cloudlet thundered, Worship God.
Festus. Him worship, all of human blood who roam,
Tribal, in wilds; for breath, food, freedom, praise;
Ye more, who, fixèd, live the life refined
Of cities, amid societies of the wise;
Graced with all science, learning, interchange
Of luxuries, profitable to all, and wealth
Art's delicate toil, or lowliest labour, earns:
For polity based on manly rights; for life
Social, by moral law, with usance kind,
Confederate, ruled; for nature's comely boons;
For virtue's bonds majestic; mind's delights;
The affections of the heart; the joys of sense;
Man's common usefulness to man, whereby
The general good conceived of thee, and blessed
In that conception, issues: for the gift
Those fitnesses to trace in all thy works,
Which, proved the intent, glads and sublimes man's soul,
Conclusive of resemblant powers; and deeds
Like, but how little like! Him bless for power
To separate truth from error, right from wrong;
For love of knowledge; art's purifying grace;
For cultured mind; for means material thralled
In thousand shapes by inventive wit; and now
Forces of progress, aids to man's high race,
And holy future; succourers of the world;
Aye working through part ends its end complete,
Through beauty, good, truth; order realized,
Expressed or thought, its way back to God's breast;
Seat both of law and liberty, needful each
For mere creation; he o'er both supreme.
Praise him, all bounteous, for the intelligence
Inquisitive, which from every being would wrest
The reason of its existence, nor, tongue--stilled,
Slacks but in gaze of thee, before whose face
Bow angel essences, in number more
Than night's invisible stars, wherewith, commixed,
The forces of the universe stand; him praise
Who is praised of all. Praise him for power to praise.
Clara. Ye continents many--peopled, and all isles,
Children of earth and ocean; and thou, chief,
Who hast the birthright and the blessing; swell
With jubilant joy, the song to him supreme,
Father and friend of life; who man's crude needs
Mildens with heavenly sanctions, by seer's voice
Or prophet's; justice names his assessor;
Gives nations the reward of well--doing, peace,
While evildoers themselves accurse by war;
Presumptuous states by races checks, and stress
Of personal interaction; now lays bare
To scoffing ages popular policy;
Now scheming power's recondite cunning; heeds
Indignant, empires wrongs reciprocate,
Just rights upheld complacent; to all doles
Such excellencies as wisdom warrants. Nought
Lacks he true 'compt of, who, with all that think,
Most intimate secretly, cons both, and weighs
Men's individual deeds; which, though we feign
Transient to hold and trivial, by him glimpsed
Prove not phaenomenal merely, but imply
Eternal bearings; and here rooted, there
Fruit freely; if to our contentment, well;
If elsewise, still reproachless he, whose end,
In all creating, was to diffuse himself
Through life in uncontaminate good; to all
As present, and to those he loves most nigh.
Him, in the heights of his divinity, praise,
The depths of his humanity; the breadth
Of being; him redemptive who assumed
Into his perfect nature ours, complete
Deficiency; who set in manhood, rose
In deity, praise; all lands, lips, nations, hail
His laudable name; till, passed from world to world,
Their shining feet it reach, who, glorious, tread,
Starpaved and straight, the streets of Paradise.
Him, workers of the world, world--wielder him,
Blessed in activity, blesser of repose,
Praise ceaseless, who with alternative rest
And action, nature's self--perpetuate scheme
Poises; contracting or expanding force
The ages hoard, the hours distribute; him
Who, coupling life with motion, builds on rest
Eternal heaven. Who labour's law revere,
The sweat of honest toil, deeming a dew
Grateful to God, more than that beads the rose,
Laud, manful, him, ye who gaunt want, fell foe
To life and knowledge, battling daily, yet
Wot well where'er on earth be faith and truth,
Aim holy or aspiration, there is God;
That all who do their best of hand or mind,
Do well; and thought devout may every task,
Not of itself unholy, hallow. Him
Unchangeable himself, but of all change
Impressive; self--necessitating cause;
Ye truth searchers exalt, whose trust to know
All verity as in heaven, he, sovereign soul
Of being, divines, and turns to simplest faith;
Who, more than all, is; whom apparent things,
Fruit transient of eternal root unseen,
Conspire to honour, from life's primal cell,
To heaven's immeasurable arch, and hosts
Contiguous of all being; which both worlds
Exterior and intrinsic, link in powers
Reactive; and God indwelling in the world
Evince; but God, most just; who towards us acts
As he would have us act towards all and him;
Exacting from perfection perfect deed,
Granting the imperfect, grace; his equity such,
Who loves the spirit longsuffering like himself;
But his own binds in normal righteousness
To manwards, and assumes the splendid coil,
Wherewith, attaching nature to himself,
True freedom means obedience to high law,--
Our spirits he liberates and exalts. Him praise,
In whose divine perception all things made,
Move congruous, designate for final good;
Happy because all holy; in his love
Boundless; in virtue sumless; who for us
Made truth compensate nature, and with light
Kinned and companioned her; the soul's guide that,
This, body's; him let man praise, who, empowered
With high capacities to administer here,
Creation's uses and our own, yet dares,
Humbly, the stores his Lord for him amassed
In times bygone, adjust; and the vague force
Nature inbred at birth, condenses, fines;
The code of life interprets; and, inspired
Conform with reason, faculty supreme,
Divine, and to both common, truth revealed,
As march the ages on, makes more humane,
And so more worthy God.
Clara. Him, deeplier taught
In holiest mysteries, blessed o'er all in soul,
Simple or sage, ye of celestial strain,
Yet earth--born, laud, who caused ye, finite, know
Him infinite; and his nature imaging
In your conditional essence, be to him
Through mediate kinship of his Son, your whole
Existence one sole glorifying act.
Though like a permanent star--cloud mid the void,
Insoluble, the cross, still shadowing shame
With honour, earth's hate thwarted by God's love,
Proclaim it, man redeemed, as e'er thy first
Of blessings. Thanks for all things, but for this,
Thanks threefold!
Festus. Oh! it were a blessèd thing
Faith such as thine to have held unfaltering; ne'er
To have fainted, failed, waned, wavered. 'Tis as when
In Alp--land, on some white and fanglike crag,
Keen, cruel as Time's tooth, earth's blanched extreme,
Trophy of this world's desolateness, I've seen
A splintered cross, memorial frail, upreared
By perilous piety, once, and since, of aught
Save vulturous levity of wing, untopped;
By snows path--hating, blurred; by gelid rains
Glazed; streaming, now, with long and icy tears;
Now tempest--rapt from vision; now, to the eye
Restored by curative lightnings; by the sun's
First rays saluted, by his last; there, still,
Ever, with arms outstretched, obtesting all
The elements, even as though sphere--kinned, it stands,
Dumb, but compelling God, and the white world
Adjuring, to behold, that scorching shine,
Storm, nor all mutable seasons can defeat
Its changeless cheer; itself so frail, yet sign
Of that's eternal; so, 'gainst time's assaults,
'Gainst nature's banded powers, thy faith thou hold'st
Inalterable, triumphant.
Clara. Yea, I hold.
Festus. God grant thee this to enjoy, and to the end!
Mine always such I dare not say; but now,
Lord of our life! of this sure, more than aught,
Let us, while praising thee for all, most praise
For thy regenerant spirit which hallowing life,
Ones it with thine; whereby we dread not death,
The house the sun must pass through, and the sign
Which us initiates into heaven; but know
Death means reunion with the deathless; range
With our translated elders; consciousness
Enlarged of the eternal spirit unmarred
By bodily needments; life at one with God;
And faith's huge promises,--our souls assume
The future, and we covenant here for heaven,--
Confirmed by fate. Here, and for ever, him
All souls, praise. Praise him, lovers of his law
Unwrit, word unrevealed, but to yourselves;
Not for those faculties only with all life
Ye own instinctive, but each mental gift
Enlightened conscience sways; for conscience' self;
For those affections not the world, not man,
Not country, friendship, love exhausts, nor blood,
While just devotion burns in us towards him;
For those high powers, conceptions, hopes, which fill
Or thrill our breasts; which prophets e'er have preached,
Or nature hints we share, the unboundedness
Of time, existence, will; the ennobling sense
Of duteousness towards men, of debt to God;
For reason, whose undimmed outlook o'er the world,
Is balanced by right insight into ourselves;
For a life whitening through probation, here;
For deep convictions of a loftier lot,
An ampler scope of spirit, a draught of bliss
Endless, to be, nearer the fount; praise him
Who godly care spares not, nor stores, that we,
Saved from our niggard selves, and unto him
Assimilate, may, through good deeds faith inspired;
Just estimate of divine love towards all made;
Life venerable and pure; the calm supreme
And clear of sacred souls, the quietude
Intense and infinite, gain of holy thoughts;
Such as he loves and lives in.
Clara. Laud ye God,
Saviour and instigator of all good;
Yet not the less impenetrable! who ill
O'errules to good; both mingles; ends and means
Metes; sparing now, as space were something scant;
Now lavish of waste worlds; atomic force
Economizing here; there solar powers
Permitting perish. What then? That sun hath long
Compassed its end; this atom a world's head
May yet be. Him, ye just in soul, adore,
Who, latent deity, gives place to all,
And takes away; whose holy attributes,
Essential as his being, ray and rule
From him, through all his rational works; the source
Of every virtuous tie the world of soul
Acknowledgeth, as from wisdom's sacred breast
Spontaneous sprung; whereby God laws himself
In natural rectitude, with all create;
He who all made, himself to manifest;
And to intelligent creatures gave to know,
Possess, communicate, his love and truth;
His righteousness to emulate; to share
His holiness; his beatitude enjoy;
And, in his wisdom skilled, in his intents
Proved, and heart purified, for others' weal
Most labouring, taught to crown with moral good
The vast divine of things.
Festus. But though the mass
Be holy, yet the first--fruits God most loves.
Praise, therefore, him, ye sons of light, and bless
The communable deity, who, albeit,
Perpetual passion suffering at men's hands,
Hoards not from those he loves divinity; him,
Participants of his kingly state, whose wills
With his conjoined, subregnant rule, the same,
Though in narrower round, as his; praise him supreme,
Who loves the praises he in hymns inspires,
Or, wordlessly, imbreathes. Let all forechosen;
Ambitious only of more humility;
Exalted but to serve; who, while in time,
Bide truelier in the eternal state, which rests
To each world proper, pillared upon the passed
And future in the soul, praise him; ye, most,
Whose privilege is to please God perfectly;
Earth this wise tolerated; whereto ye lend,
Like fire from faith's accepted offering,
The savour of salvation; whose heart's hope
That all souls might be saved, by him inspired,
Transfigured into fate, reads sure in heaven.
All ways are byeways but the way of God,
So broad, not thought a road. And man's wise heart
Which wide relations with the infallible holds,
Though flawed by error; with all excellence,
Moral and rational; with God immanent
In all things, yet transcendent over all,
Knows him sire, saviour, sanctifier of soul;
Who in their principles cores all ends; combines
Results forestablished with acts freely willed;
Through body clarifies the spirit of man;
And virtue made obligatory, but ruled,
For its validity, rise and close in him.
Clara. Him praise, ye generations of the passed,
Whose unrenown seems holier than all fame;
All final history in her epitaphs
Of nations notes; him, who the adopted soul
Fills, by sin's absolution, with rich foretaste
Of evil's abolition; the world stamped
With total good. Praise him, ye sceptred saints,
With God, like--minded, glorying in his will,
Impeccable, who muse celestial things;
Whose sins are washed away in seas of love;
Who, liberate from all law, sit judging law;
Whose passion for perfection sated, ye,
Rapt into deity, with your Lord enjoy
Life unitive, life eternal, life divine;
Who revel in futurity, and inhale
The gust of inspiration at his lips;
Of all worlds owner, author of all fates.
Festus. Who knoweth God the sum of science owns.
The heavens record his handiwork; the earth
Worships his footsteps; life his breath repeats;
The soul his image; everlasting space,
The harmonies of his nature echoing, round
Reflects his vast extension; the great whole
His boundless being, and his infinite mind.
Clara. Midst, but apart from all, he substance gives
And choice, distinct from others and himself;
Yet himself makes the beauty and the bliss
Of his intelligent universe; its aim,
Its orderly source, its endless end; whose rule,
Let justice among equals reign,--is love.
For he with us not varying, harsh or bland,
As our vain 'haviour bids, but in himself
All kind, sufficing, fixed; unroughed by wrath,
By bribeful prayers unsmoothed; towards all his works
Piteous, yea, sentient of faith's faintest sigh,
In all his sweetness, is by none save soul
Saved, apprehensible.
Festus. Lord, be it for me
With earth's triumphal hymn these lays to blend,
Worthy but of thy blessing that they flow
From gifts thou gavest, reconsecrate to thee;
Whereby in thy dear love thou madest it mine
To interpret nature's elements, and with her
In all her holy tongues commune; to live
In presence of our peers, the powers of heaven,
Sun, moon, and skies star--crowded; clouds, winds, tides;
Born of yon far blue infinite; but all
Predestined to soul service; mine to scan
In greatest minds' great thoughts earth's passed; betimes
Fatal, foreshape the future; mine to know,
In moral might towards thee deific drawn
All spirits in order blessed; mine, henceforth, aye
To extol thee merciful as mighty; thee,
Ours, and all being's, end and author, God.
All things in thee subsistent, thou alone
In thyself art; all eyeing at one glance;
All minding in one thought; in one sole act,
Creating, comprehending, judging all.
Unalterable as silence, thy decrees
Are boundless and for ever. Thy delight
Is in the holy of heaven, and in the heart
Responsive to thy counsels. Even as space,
All things embosoming, is thy mercifulness.
Thy love is life; and they who find thee here,
Find perfectness and peace; eternal gifts;
Peace in themselves, and perfectness in thee.
Clara. Hallowed and comforted the soul, elate
By pure prostration at God's feet, the world
Meets but scant welcome from us; we half hoped
To have lost what soon we lose for aye and all.
Festus. I seek no selfish gladness, though to me
High thoughts are life, and life immortal more
Only in conception as divine than this,
Our perishable, in act; yet would not I
Forestall apart from thee those paths, those plans
We have hope to perfect in eternity.
To search together truth space--wide; to soar
In spirit unitedly through all the immense
Thus, of celestial thought gives joy sublime,
I know to both. As when by sunset's hues
Invited, some fair falcon, whose broad eye
Mirrors the welkin, through air's shadowy blue
Wheeling with wing unwavering, every plume
Stretched tense, mid sky serenely balanced, calls
Forth from her eyrie, crown of sea--faced crag,
His mightier mate; these twain each other now
In unconceived ellipse, curve following curve,
Redoubled rainbowlike, outsweep; thrice o'er
Snatch from ambition's touch the zenith; mock
With playful fall the expectant earth; now, thwart,
In arbitrary and intercircling flights,
Their mutual orbits, emulous; this below
Echoing the other's cry on high, till heaven
Closes, by hint of stars, the rapt contest.
Clara. How near earth's end!
Festus. Earth's future soon is told.
Nigher each hour, the incredible becomes
What sole can be; the key that all unlocks.
For now not only our life's exterior charms,
Earth's beauties perish, but mind's most treasured joys,
Brain--realms pictorial of creative thought,
Fairer than Eden, were that garden all
Fiction entranced, e'er dreamed. Song, art, romance,
Farewell! Hope is, we enjoy not only, there,
The future, but the passed made clear, sublimed,
Perfect. Perchance in life to come a glimpse
May ope, God good, to memory's inward eye
From all imperfect aims, impure views, purged
Of divine fable. If not, be it as God will;
But as when the moon at her full round arrived
Of beauty, uprising, level, from the main,
Late turbulent, smiles to behold the loyal waves'
Awe, and their hush low whispered hear as she
Venerable by birth, though young, just state assumes,
And splendid presidency; these, too, like pleased
With her exact observance of all times,
And the well--lawed conformity to things
Earthly, of things celestial and serene,
As mutually assurant, yield her back,
Considerate, smile for smile; so I,--so thou,
Souls like authentic, each the other's breast
Let fill with pure content.
Clara. As far as such,
Amassed of all defects, avail.
Festus. There's one
Defect we have each outlived. We part no more.

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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